“This is an issue that knows no boundaries. It doesn’t matter where you live, what you look like, your background,” said Nekia Hackworth, assistant U.S. attorney for Georgia’s northern district. It is common for girls to get sucked into lives of prostitution, and the average age range is 12 to 14, according to Camilla Wright, head of the human trafficking unit for the Fulton County District Attorney’s office. “Atlanta is one of the hubs for trafficking in the U.S. … Within the first 48 hours, one third of runaways encounter a trafficker,” Wright said. “These girls tell me time after time, they left home because something bad happened. They have to eat and need somewhere to stay. Whether they offer it as a father or a boyfriend, [traffickers] say they’ll take care of them.”
“These girls and boys need such intensive services because their minds have been completely warped as to their self-value,” said Dalia Racine, assistant district attorney at the DeKalb County District Attorney’s office who works in the Crimes Against Children Unit. “They only think their bodies are something to make money from and they have no other value than that.”
“If you see a very young girl with a way older guy, and she’s wearing short shorts and a tank top in cold weather, … you call 911 [or (404) 577-TIPS],” said Hackworth. “It’s a small thing that you can do that might potentially save a young girl’s life. If things don’t look quite right, it may not be right.”
Learn more at Caroline Young’s Northside Neighbor article: Panel: Atlanta ‘hub’ of human trafficking.