Hundreds of Atlanta-area people who hope to end human trafficking marched to their state lawmakers' offices today, in hopes that they'll consider making more harsh laws for those who buy sex from underage sex workers.
The organization, Street Grace, helped organize Thursday's event and was also behind efforts that brought Georgia's House Bill 200 to the forefront of lawmaker's minds. Street Grace board member Aaronde Creighton said HB 200 strengthened laws against those who exploit children.
"It increased the amount of time they can serve, it also gave us the ability within the state to go after the funds of the individuals. So there is a strong monetary penalty for those people who are convicted of human trafficking," Creighton said. "(The) next step is to continue to advocate for the victims. In addition to that, we also want to make sure we go after those people who are buying these children as well."
For Keisha Head, the issue hits very close to home. She was a victim of commercial sexual exploitation while a child in the Atlanta area.
"I was a runaway at the age of 16," Head said. "Unfortunately, due to social and economic issues I was vulnerable at that time."
She explains how some adults manage to lure children.
"If you're hungry and someone gives you bread you instantly connect with that person," Head said. "My trafficker was someone who offered me a solution to my problem and I was a child – I didn't know to question things like that in my life."
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Tuesday, April 20 2010 11:21 PM EDT2010-04-21 03:21:00 GMT
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