- This is in answer to:
- What's your city known for? See all answers
- April 22, 2011 by mstaibrown
- What My City Is Known For
This was the prompt at plinky.com today. And this topic was the first one that came to mind.
We all know the old marketing adage: Sex Sells. Well, it certainly does. Especially in Atlanta. There are a myriad of strip clubs for you to choose from. Prostitutes? We have those, too. You say you like a younger looking girl? Well, we've got just the thing for you! I don't want to make any presumptions, but we've got young teenage girls. How young? Like maybe 12 or 14. No, don't worry about that--they've got plenty of experience and they'll do what you ask. As long as you've got the cash, we've got what you need.
Sound disgusting? That's because it is. Unfortunately, Atlanta is known for ranking #13 in the world in the trafficking of women and children. In the US, we're in the top 3.
Every month, 500 underage girls are trafficked for sex in Atlanta. And every month 7200 men "buy" services from these girls. Every weekend, 100-150 underage girls are raped for profit in Atlanta. The average age of a girl exploited on the streets of Atlanta is 14, but there have been cases where girls were found as young as 9 years old.
If you didn't know this about Atlanta before, you do now. I remember driving through this city years ago on my way to TENN and thinking how beautiful it was. But there's a thick layer of superficiality that lays over the city in the form of glossy buildings, hip nightclubs and artsy cafes. When you peel all of that away, you're left with the faces of these women, young girls, and yes, even young boys sometimes that have been victimized and exploited for the financial gain of another human being. When did it become okay to industrialize life? When did we decide it was okay to to pretend like this travesty didn't exist?
But there's a light at the end of the tunnel. Organizations like StreetGRACE and the Dear John campaign are working around the clock to not just raise awareness about the issue, but also put a stop to it. Around the world, there are such organizations such as the Not For Sale campaign that works tirelessly to end human trafficking and modern day slavery. And there's the A21 campaign who in as little as 3 years has seen huge success in its efforts to rescue victims and bring the exploiters to justice. There's the International Justice Mission that works with lawyers, investigators, and local authorities to ensure that victims are rescued, treated,and their perpetrators prosecuted.
Right now Atlanta is known for this nightmare. But one day, the dream is that it will be known as a catalyst for change. A city that heard the cry of the victims on the street and said no more! One day our citizens, our mothers, sisters, fathers, brothers, daughters, sons, will rise up and say not on our watch. The ship has already begun to turn. The only question remaining is whether or not you are on board.
For more info:
All statistics taken from the 2005 mayors report: "Hidden in Plain View"