Earlier this month, 72 GCPS school buses— emblazoned with messages about human trafficking— queued up in district lots in the early hours of the morning, then made their way through metro Atlanta traffic to their final destination, Mercedes-Benz Stadium. This anti-trafficking awareness campaign on wheels was spearheaded by Street Grace, a nonprofit that mobilizes communities to fight domestic minor sex trafficking. The 72 buses represented the 3,600 Georgia children who are sold for sex each year. (Street Grace covered the costs for the event, including fuel, drivers, and signage.)
“Every day in Atlanta, people talk about our traffic problem. Today, we urge you to talk about our more serious ‘traffick’ problem,” Bob Rodgers, president and CEO of Street Grace, said at the event. “Child sex trafficking is an industry that thrives in darkness. Our goal is to develop a network that will continually shine a light on this issue and put an end to the abuse.”
As attention focuses on Atlanta as the city prepares for the Super Bowl, organizers and state officials hope a spotlight on the underground business of sex trafficking of children will help put a stop to the practice and help community members identify and report sex trafficking.
GCPS takes an active part in keeping children in our community safe. In partnership with Street Grace, GCPS counselors are trained to recognize signs that a child or teen is being sexually exploited. All employees and volunteers in our schools, including bus drivers, are mandated reporters of child abuse and neglect. Anyone who observes possible sex trafficking should contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-7888 (24/7 national hotline) or call 9-1-1 if the victim is in immediate danger.