ATLANTA — Atlanta’s own Tyler Perry is teaming up with Georgia’s First Lady Marty Kemp, urging people to join in the fight against human trafficking.
Perry recorded a one-minute public service announcement video for Kemp, who created the Georgians for Refuge, Action, Compassion, and Education Commission (GRACE).
“Sadly it’s happening right here in our backyard in Georgia, in small towns and big cities. Thousands of victims are trapped and they need our help. Unfortunately, many are being trafficked by the very people they trust the most like their friends and family,” Perry said.
Perry urged everyone to participate in Kemp’s human trafficking awareness training to learn about the warning signs and get help.
“It can save someone’s life,” he said. “Working together we can be the force of good that ends human trafficking once and for all.”
“We are deeply grateful to Tyler Perry for his dedicated work and leadership to support survivors and raise awareness about human trafficking,” Kemp said. “With his partnership, more Georgians will be equipped with the knowledge to identify potential instances of trafficking - but most importantly, they will be equipped with the ability to save lives.”
During a news conference last week, Gov. Brian Kemp and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Director Vic Reynolds announced a new unit dedicated to the fight against human trafficking.
The Human Exploitation and Trafficking, or HEAT, unit will focus on “enforcement efforts of commercial sex trafficking and labor trafficking as well as the rescue of adult trafficking victims,” according to a release.
The HEAT unit will have a special agent and assistant special agent in charge with four additional agents.
“As a proud co-chair of the First Lady’s GRACE Commission, I am pleased to announce the GBI standing up a brand new work unit to combat the evil plague of human trafficking,” Reynolds said. “The exploitation and trafficking of persons is a problem that affects all areas of the state and all walks of life. The problem is so serious that at times, victims don’t even realize they are victims. With a concentrated effort on identifying traffickers and victims, we strive to make Georgia a safer place to live for all.”
Child sex trafficking is a big problem in the metro area. According to a report from Georgia State University, Georgia has been considered a human trafficking hub since 2005.
That’s when the FBI first identified Atlanta as one of the 14 cities with the highest rates of sexually trafficked children.
In 2018, the National Human Trafficking Hotline ranked Georgia fourth among states.
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