Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking In Atlanta On The Rise
When I first visited Georgia State University as a prospective college, a red head with the bluest eyes told our group that Atlanta is as safe as you make it. That advice has been emblazoned into my mind, and I continue to share this sentiment with whomever will listen. Fast forward to my freshman year, and my brother who was 15/16 at the time, came to visit me for a weekend that neither one of us will ever forget.
"When he approached me at the Varsity on my way back to your dorm, he was like it ain't worth it is it? I didn't understand what that meant at the time, but I just said NO"
For some naive reason, I thought that it would be ok for my brother to walk to a Publix that was roughly a mile away. On this journey, a man would not only approach my brother, but continue to follow and approach him twice more before backing off. When I was contacted by CCG Consulting to attend The Atlanta Fashion Showcase that benefitted Street Grace, an organization pioneering the end of minor domestic sex trafficking, I knew that I had to align myself with this cause.
"I could have been in a much worse situation if I had said one wrong thing"
The event was held at Kai Lin Art in the West Midtown area of Atlanta, and was hosted by the beautiful Carla Stephens of Bravo's Mother Funders. The first designer to hit the runway was international designer Larisa Dragna, who debuted for the first time in the United States at the showcase. Dragna's designs were followed by Avnah Collection. Designer Avnah Long's mission is to help someone or some country with every purchase of her bold & futuristic designs.
"The man was aware that I wasn’t old enough to party, yet he persisted in asking if I wanted to party"
I'm totally biased in that I was anticipating the designs of Storm Dorris the most, and I was not disappointed. A SCAD graduate, and Georgia-based designer, Storm's designs were described as a timeless love letter to fashion. The romantic collection featured beautiful beading over sheer fabric that accentuated my favorite body part to show off ... the strong, feminine frame of the back and shoulders. His inspiration lies in a fascination with the life and vibes of Queen Marie Antoinette, whom I also have a penchant for, so I can't wait to see what else this designer has ripping the runway in years to come. Featured designer, Dior, closed out the night with mostly all white pieces. My favorites were the "WE SHOULD ALL BE FEMINISTS" shirt, and of course an intricately embroidered, sheer dress that anchored the collection.
"Don’t assume someone has your best interest in mind"
So what can you do to help combat minor sex trafficking? The first step would be to know the signs, like the types of relationships that the child has, changes to behavior and appearance, and a accumulation of possessions that don't align with what the child should have access to or own. If you have children or younger siblings, have an honest discussion about sex trafficking and what it is exactly. According to Street Grace, children should be learning about sex by the age of 8, otherwise they run the risk of learning about sex from friends, movies, online, or older teens. While I disagree with the impact of one resource, Street Grace provides several resources on internet & phone safety tips, recognizing the signs of sex trafficking, and ways to report if you suspect sex trafficking. Domestic minor sex trafficking in Atlanta was ranked number 1 due to the many conventions held in the city, and we should all be doing our part to demand an end to this disgusting practice.
Have you noticed sex trafficking in your area and reported it? Comment below how this impacted you and why you did or did not report what you saw.
*All photos taken by Mr. Carmichael