ATLANTA - The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia, along with its law enforcement partners, are encouraging both citizens and visitors to be aware of the possibility of sex trafficking in and around Atlanta this weekend and into next week. In short, if you believe it might be, tell someone.
“Sex traffickers are despicable people, and they use events like the National Championship game to ply their trade,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak. “These types of events draw large crowds of revelers, and sex traffickers often seek to exploit these types of opportunities. We need everyone’s help in identifying those being trafficked for sex, and in bringing the traffickers to justice.”
Many times, those who are being trafficked are homeless, runaway or abandoned children, but it is not limited to these groups. Traffickers also seek out at-risk individuals, such as people suffering from sexual/physical abuse, or dependency, as well as women and children from other countries – typically from impoverished nations.
Signs that may indicate that someone is being held against their will or trafficked include:
• They do not hold their own identity or travel documents
• They appear to suffer from verbal or psychological abuse designed to intimidate, degrade and frighten the individual
• They have a trafficker or pimp who controls all their money – the victim will have very little or no pocket money
• They are extremely nervous, especially if the victim’s “translator” is their trafficker
• They are not allowed to move about by themselves and have little understanding of where they are
Victims may also lack personal items, possessions or luggage. They may not have a cell phone or calling card. Most may also lack private space – a trafficker or an enforcer is always present. They most likely will not possess financial records or identification documents, or have any knowledge about how to get around in a community.
The penalties for sex-trafficking are substantial, but can only be enforced with the help of aware citizens. To report a potential sex-trafficking incident, contact the FBI at 770-216-3000.