Human Traffic Watch

Special agent speaks on plight of sex trafficking victims

In Human Trafficking, Sex Trafficking on March 14, 2013 at 12:23 pm

Sara Thomas, a special agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, spoke to the Conyers Kiwanis Club Monday, evoking a stark image of child sex trafficking in Georgia.

#Thomas, who works in the GBI’s Child Exploitation and Computer Crimes Unit, said Atlanta and surrounding areas are prime locations for sex trafficking due to the high level of tourism, the concentration of colleges and universities, proximity to a large international airport, numerous interstate connections, a dense population and the presence of the hip hop and rap music industry.

#Many child sex trafficking victims are young girls; 12 is the average age of victims, she said. Most victims are females, although males are also abused, she said. Victims are often lured into prostitution by promises of a good job in a new country, a false marriage proposal, or other offers for a better life. Ninety-five percent of sex trafficking victims are runaways or throwaways who are trying to escape an abusive home, she said. According to GBI statistics, on average a runaway is approached by a sex trafficker within 48 hours of leaving home.

#Once involved in the sex trade, pimps control the victims through violence or threats of violence against family members, starvation, confinement, rape, forced drug use or threats of shaming them in front of family or friends, Thomas explained.

#Many of the victims become conditioned and find it hard to break away or to stay away if they do get free, Thomas said.

Source: Rockdale Citizen

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