‘I was sexually assaulted by a step parent’ Panel works to fight human trafficking
ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - On Wednesday, a panel of experts in Fulton County held a panel to talk about the issue of human trafficking going on in Atlanta.
Data from a human trafficking hotline report shows that Atlanta has the second-highest rate of human trafficking in the country.
Experts on the Fulton County panel said a human trafficker can be someone you don’t expect.
“It’s usually the ages 13 to 34 and it’s not the person in the white van with a long beard or whatever it is somebody of affluence,” Atlanta FBI Special Agent Josh Norris said sex traffickers are luring people in all different ways in Atlanta.
“It’s a neighbor, it’s a friend, it’s so prevalent. I can bet that we all know someone who is a victim or an offender,” Norris said.
Experts Norris said it can start with a student at your child’s school, a man talking to your child on their Xbox or Instagram, or even your own spouse.
“It actually started at home for me I was already sexually assaulted by a step-parent and my mom was aware,” Human Sex Trafficking survivor Nathifa Joseph said at age 13 she felt the home was no longer safe. She ran away with some friends, stopped by a gas station, and was trafficked.
“He saw me and he told me that I could make money off of pictures and then I ended up going with him. One date turned into multiple dates and I stayed in the life for about a year and a half,” she said.
Experts say traffickers take advantage of vulnerable people.
Often times promising a career, or money and Atlanta’s entertainment industry plays a big role.
“They’re luring girls in through a music or modeling deal, they ask for their birth certificates,” said Fulton County Assistant District Attorney Earnelle Winfrey.
However, there is still a way we can all help.
“If you see something say something that’s the biggest thing,” Nathifa said.
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