by: Rachel Stockman Updated:ATLANTA —
Hundreds of signs are now up at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in an effort to raise awareness and curb child sex trafficking.
The signs are required under a new Georgia law that mandates the toll free number (1-888-373-7888) to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center be posted at airports, bus stations, strip clubs and other establishments.
The signs say, “Are you or someone you know being sold for sex or made/forced to work for little or no pay and cannot leave?”
“We wanted to make sure that people know that there is a number you can call, there are a lot of victims out here that just don’t know who to turn to for help,” said Jennifer Swain, with youthSpark, an organization that aids exploited and neglected children.
The FBI named Atlanta as one of 14 cities in the nation with the highest rates of children being exploited for prostition, according to youthSpark.
“Men flying in from New York City, now they don’t need to go to Bangkok, they can get it right in Atlanta,” said Stephanie Davis of Georgia Women for a Change, one of the main supporters of the law.
“It is just something you post put out there in the hopes they will remember it and it will be a saving grace for someone,” Swain said.
In conjunction with the posters, dozens of workers at the concessions airport-wide also underwent training to detect signs that a child traveling through the airport may be a victim of sex trafficking.
“Before the training, I wasn’t looking for any of that stuff, I would just come in and do my job , and go home,” said Gary Norris, who works at one of the concessions at the airport. “Now you look at people, how they carry their bag or walking, the expression s on their face -- do they look fearful do they look terrified?”
Important steps, Swain said, to curb a growing problem.