The GBI and the Attorney General’s Office are launching a campaign to educate and bring awareness to child sex trafficking.
The underground commercial sex economy (UCSE) is the second largest black market in the United States. UCSE recently surpassed the illegal gun trade and is second only to the drug market. Traffickers are attracted to the commercial sex economy by its relatively low risk and the ability to “recycle” children for greater profit.
Research also estimates that as many as 300,000 American children are at risk of being victimized by sex trafficking, entering “the life” at an average age of 12 – 14 years old. In Atlanta alone, the underground commercial sex economy is estimated to be worth approximately $290 million a year, with traffickers making an average of $33,000 per week.
The new campaign to help educate the public about underground commercial sex is called “Demand An End”. The initiative to combat Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking (DMST) in Georgia and around the nation. Demand An End focuses on education and awareness, aiming to create a united force and stop the growth and proliferation of sex trafficking by targeting the demand side of this issue.
“We are focused on bringing an end to Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking in Georgia and around the country by addressing the root of the problem – demand,” said Attorney General Chris Carr. “This horrific industry will continue to victimize and exploit children as long as there is a high demand for it. This is why we are asking all cities, counties, businesses, non-profits, houses of worship, law enforcement officials, judicial professionals and concerned citizens to join us in demanding an end.”
As is the case with any business, child sex trafficking operates on the economic principle of supply and demand. The supply is comprised of children who are frequently abused and exploited at a very young age, and the demand is comprised of the individuals who are seeking to buy children for sex.
Every month in Georgia, 354 minors are sold for sex to 7,200 men. Including repeat purchases, these men pay for an estimated 8,770 sex acts per month. As a result, each child is exploited multiply times per month and even per day. We have an obligation to protect the most vulnerable in our society from the powerful and abusive. To date, responses to child sex trafficking have been focused almost exclusively on the supply side of the equation – providing crucial rescue and rehabilitation services to survivors of child sex trafficking after they have been exploited. These services are greatly needed, however, this approach only addresses half of the equation and does not target the source that perpetuates the industry, demand.
The goal for the Demand An End initiative is to create a nationwide, inclusive campaign under a single brand that will ensure that local authorities are trained to recognize and report suspected cases of sex trafficking. The Demand An End campaign aims to aid in the training of law enforcement and judicial officials so that they are better equipped to investigate, arrest, recognize and aggressively prosecute buyers and traffickers. By committing to becoming a Demand An End city, county or state, officials are letting those who wish to harm children know that their region is a hostile environment for buyers and traffickers.