Human trafficking in Atlanta

By KATHERINE THACH

Human trafficking is another phrase for sex slavery or prostitution. It is enslaving more than 30 million people today.

Atlanta is home to many of these cases, which is why several new organizations are developing in order to bring light to this issue and try to lessen the impact.

“The main three things we do as an organization are reach, rescue, and restore,” Director of Residential Services at Out of Darkness Melissa Meyer said.

Out of Darkness offers a 24/7 hotline for human trafficking victims to call. Out of Darkness will send rescue teams to get the victims out of their situations and also have two safe houses, where victims of trafficking can stay for five to 30 days until they are ready to enter into rehabilitation or counseling programs.

According to Meyer, these homes allow the victims to rest and get healthy. Research shows that victims who go straight from the street into programs are less successful.

People are becoming more aware of the issue of human trafficking in Atlanta, and Meyer feels strongly about the root causes of the issue.

“The root issues of sex trafficking are numerous, therefore affecting a vast number of people,” said Meyer.

The awareness of human trafficking is helpful for victims and women in Atlanta.
However, awareness alone will not fix the issue. Educating people about safety and coping mechanisms can make a difference in human trafficking statistics.

“I want people to know that human trafficking happens here, and it doesn’t have a set age, or look, or background story, ” said Natalie Kraemer, a residential assistant at Out of Darkness.

On Friday evenings, the Out of Darkness organization staff holds a community outreach to make people aware of the 24/7 hotline number. Out of Darkness focuses on victim care in an attempt to get the victims living independently, and on education and awareness for those in the Atlanta area.

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