The City of South Fulton is marking National Slavery and Human Trafficking Awareness Month by educating the public on how to participate in preventative measures.
Earlier in the month, Councilwoman Helen Z. Willis partnered with youthSpark to train more than 50 community ambassadors to spot the signs of human trafficking. Founded in 2010, youthSpark helps children at risk for exploitation through a combination of youth services, investigative research, policy advocacy and training.
On Thursday, January 30, Councilwoman Willis will partner with youthSpark again for a Human Trafficking Forum. Panelists will include Jennifer Swain, the organization’s executive director and Police Chief Keith Meadows.
The event will take place at Siloam Church International, 3695 Roosevelt Highway at 6:30 p.m. It’s free, open to the public and facilitated in partnership with the South Fulton Police Department, Atlanta Suburban Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and Women Impacting a Nation. Attendees are asked to register via Eventbrite.
“Human Trafficking is an epidemic in our region and we must do everything we can to protect our children from being exploited,” said Councilwoman Willis. “We must fight this immoral and indecent crime by strengthening our laws and educating our community on how to help victims.”
South Fulton began taking steps to drive awareness of human trafficking not long after the city was chartered. In September 2018, the city passed legislation requiring businesses to “hang the sign” with information about trafficking and hotlines to call for help. South Fulton’s ordinance aligns with legislation in place at the county and state level.
Efforts across the State of Georgia
This month, the State of Georgia is rolling out new measures and policies aimed at fighting human trafficking. Training has been introduced for state employees to help them learn how to identify and report suspicious activities. The training is provided through a collaboration between Georgians for Refuge, Action, Compassion and Education (GRACE) and the Georgia Department of Administrative Services.
Additionally, Governor Brian Kemp has announced three new pieces of legislation that are soon to be formalized. The laws would allow trafficking victims to restrict access to their criminal records, close loopholes in the sexual offender registry and improper sexual contact code, and impose a lifetime driver’s license ban for those convicted of human trafficking.
If you suspect human trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888.
Photo: Councilwoman Helen Z. Willis addresses residents at a community ambassador training session in partnership with youthSpark. (Credit: City of South Fulton)