Human Trafficking Symposium
2024 Symposium: Into the Light
Thank you to the Central Georgia community for an amazing, sold-out event on January 24th, 2024! We hope that as you go through your life, you are encouraged to #DoSomething when you see a child, friend, or stranger in trouble. Human Trafficking will only end when we are aware enough to stop the cycles of pain and violence and speak in to the lives of those struggling.
A huge thank you to 41NBC for attending and sharing the news about Human Trafficking in our community.
If you see something, say something. If you say something we will do something.
Out of Darkness Middle Georgia
Out of Darkness is the anti-trafficking ministry of Frontline Response, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.
Out of Darkness Middle Georgia is the first chapter affiliated with the Atlanta Out of Darkness ministry and is focused on reaching victims of the sex trafficking industry in the Macon-Warner Robins areas and surrounding Middle Georgia counties.
Mercer University is a private research university with its main campus in Macon, Georgia. Founded in 1833 as Mercer Institute and gaining university status in 1837, it is the oldest private university in the state and enrolls more than 9,000 students in 12 colleges and schools.
Traffick Jam is a brand and team of Mercer University students whose purpose is to teach Macon’s teens how to drive out sex trafficking.
Past Human Trafficking Symposiums
March 2023 – Inaugural Human Trafficking Symposium: A Season of Change
The very first Human Trafficking Symposium from Macon Judicial Circuit District Attorney Anita Howard and Out of Darkness Middle Georgia was held on March 16, 2023 at Mercer University. Entitled, “A Season of Change,” this groundbreaking symposium united survivors, community members, leaders, and professionals from the community for a comprehensive discussion on strategies to combat and ultimately eradicate human trafficking. With a shared commitment to bringing about positive change, the event provided a platform for exchanging insights, fostering collaboration, and developing actionable initiatives to protect vulnerable individuals and build a safer community.
What is Human Trafficking?
Human trafficking is a global issue that affects millions of people, fueled by factors such as poverty, inequality, and demand for cheap labor or commercial sex. Human trafficking is a severe and pervasive crime that involves the exploitation of individuals through force, fraud, or coercion for various purposes, including forced labor, sexual exploitation, and involuntary servitude. It is a violation of basic human rights and is considered a form of modern-day slavery.
Key indicators of human trafficking are:
- Recruitment: Traffickers recruit individuals using various means, including deception, promises of better opportunities, or abduction.
- Transportation: Victims are often moved across borders or within a country to the location where they will be exploited.
- Exploitation: This can take many forms, such as forced labor, sexual exploitation, domestic servitude, child soldiers, or forced participation in criminal activities.
- Control: Traffickers use tactics such as physical and emotional abuse, threats, isolation, and debt bondage to maintain control over their victims.
Efforts to combat human trafficking involve prevention, victim identification and support, prosecution of traffickers, and addressing the root causes that make individuals vulnerable to exploitation. International and national organizations, as well as law enforcement agencies, work collaboratively to raise awareness, enforce laws, and provide assistance to survivors of trafficking.
Is Human Trafficking common in Central Georgia and the Macon Judicial Circuit?
According to Traffick Jam surveys, central Georgia high schoolers report one in nine students knows someone has sold themselves for sex, and one in 14 students knows someone who has been forced into selling themselves for sex. The number are even more grave when considering that 84% of human trafficking victims were also victims of childhood sexual assault. Considering 2023 case numbers for the Macon Judicial Circuit (encompassing Bibb, Crawford, and Peach Counties), there were 126 reported cases of child sexual assault. Considering that sample, proportions, and the common issue of under-reporting, that means in 2023 alone, our community holds 150 future victims of human trafficking.
Human trafficking is a major concern in our community, and each of us can play a part in reducing those figures by paying attention, and stepping in to the lives of those in danger by doing something, often just by saying something.
Human trafficking is quiet, cruel, and insidious. To shed light and end this problem, learn more about it and share with friends and family on days of awareness. To learn more, visit some of these reliable sources:
- Department of Justice: https://www.justice.gov/humantrafficking/what-is-human-trafficking
- Department of Homeland Security (and their Blue Campaign): https://www.dhs.gov/blue-campaign/what-human-trafficking
- National Human Trafficking Hotline: https://humantraffickinghotline.org/en/human-trafficking
If you feel yourself or someone you know is in danger, contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or text HELP or INFO to BeFree (233733).
To report suspected human trafficking to Federal law enforcement, call 1-866-347-2423.
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