On Tuesday, November 8th, Georgia voters successfully passed a ballot initiative that will fund a much-needed effort to rescue children from sex slavery.
The Safe Harbor YES Amendment will amend the state constitution to create a Sexually Exploited Children Fund permanently dedicated to providing care and services for child victims of sex trafficking.
The fund will be directed toward services urgently needed for children rescued from sex slavery, including treatment for physical and psychological abuse and trauma. It will NOT mean a tax on Georgia taxpayers; instead, penalties on sex traffickers and fees on the adult entertainment industry would finance this crucial work.
The need is clear: the average age for children forced into sex slavery is 12-14, and many are as young as nine years old. The lives of these innocent kids are marred by violence, forced drug abuse, and constant fear. The good news is this is a fight we can win – if we band together.
None of this would have been possible without the passion and hard work of United Way's women leaders. In 2014, former President Jimmy Carter appeared before a group of United Way of Greater Atlanta's women leaders and spoke forcefully about the scourge of human trafficking – especially in Atlanta, which the FBI ranks as among the top 14 American cities in sheer volume of children bought and sold for sex.
The women leaders in attendance were inspired to take the issue on as their signature cause. Throughout 2015, they passionately advocated before lawmakers and raised awareness about the issue.