When someone says the words “sex trafficking,” most people think of the movie Taken, in which a teenage girl goes into another country and gets kidnapped, traded and sold as a prostitute. No one instantly thinks of young women living in Atlanta being exploited, but, in fact, this city is a national hub for sex trafficking, and the majority of the young women abused are minors with an average age of around 14. At Tech, a society called “One Voice” is making an effort to stop this abuse.
“Twenty seven thousand men are buying sex, and 7200 of those men are buying sex with women under the age of 18, knowingly or unknowingly.” said Brittany Mays, vice president of One Voice and a second-year BA major.
“The average age of a sex slave is about 14, and 57 percent of the men who are buying sex are deterred by the fact that they might be buying sex with a child. This is really encouraging because it means that we could potentially stop the trafficking of children by 57 percent if we could raise awareness to every man buying sex in the state,” Mays said.
Mays cited unexpected towns, such as Marietta, Alpharetta and Peachtree City in Ga., as main centers of sex trafficking.
Mays went on to say that because of these statistics, raising awareness could make a great impact on the number of men buying sex from children.
In pursuit of raising awareness, One Voice hosted a week of events.
The first event was “Laleo,” which means “speak” in Greek. The event included performances from students and a fundraiser for Wellspring Living.
Tuesday’s event was a celebration of the resolution recently passed in the Undergraduate House of Representatives to officially stand against trafficking of humans.
Another event involved wearing white on Wednesday to support exploited children.
Thursday’s event included a bake sale to raise money, a showing of a documentary about sex trafficking and an open forum discussion about the issue.
Mays explained how the monetary donations and contributions help the cause.
“We sent the money to Wellspring which is a rehabilitation center for victims of trafficking.” Mays said.
Wellspring Living is a non-profit “healing” center for those who have been emotionally, mentally and physically abused by sex trafficking.
It provides shelter, facilitates counseling for victims and helps victims regain control of their lives and build a foundation for the future.
One Voice has been donating money to Wellspring Living since 2007 when Molly Williams, STaC ‘10, and two others started the program at Tech.
“I hope that many people can come out and participate in this event,” Williams said. “It is a great way to have fun and meet people and support a great cause at the same time.”
One Voice will continue to raise awareness for people in need throughout the coming semesters.