Hu­man re­la­tions panel hosts traf­fick­ing fo­rum

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution - - COUNTY BY COUNTY - KAREN HUPPERTZ FOR THE AJC

At just 15 years old, Ta­juan McCarty was home­less and forced into pros­ti­tu­tion by a man in his 30s. More than a decade later, she fi­nally es­caped the sex trade and since then es­tab­lished two safe houses that have pro­vided se­cu­rity for more than 200 traf­fick­ing vic­tims.

McCarty, who is the founder of The Well­house, a Birmingham-based, res­cue and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion or­ga­ni­za­tion for vic­tims of sex­ual ex­ploita­tion, will tell her story at an up­com­ing com­mu­nity fo­rum on hu­man traf­fick­ing. Spon­sored by the Gwin­nett County Hu­man Re­la­tions Com­mis­sion and St. Pa­trick’s Catholic Church, the fo­rum is 7 p.m. Nov. 14 at St. Pa­trick’s Catholic Church, 2140 Beaver Ruin Road in Norcross.

Michelle An­der­son, co­or­di­na­tor of Ge­or­gia Statewide Hu­man Traf­fick­ing Task Force, Bob Rodgers, pres­i­dent and CEO of Street Grace, Sgt. Austin God­frey, Gwin­nett County Po­lice Depart­ment Vice Unit, Tami Wilder, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Pos­i­tive Im­pact In­ter­na­tional, and Mary Frances Bow­ley, founder and ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Well­spring Liv­ing, an At­lanta-based or­ga­ni­za­tion that pro­vides hous­ing, trauma-care and ed­u­ca­tion for sex­ual ex­ploita­tion vic­tims will also present.

An es­ti­mated 374 girls be­tween the ages of 12 and 14 are com­mer­cially sex­u­ally ex­ploited monthly in Ge­or­gia, ac­cord­ing to the Cen­ter for Pub­lic Pol­icy Stud­ies. On April 24, Gwin­nett County au­thor­i­ties con­ducted a sting that net­ted 23 men on charges re­lated to un­der­age sex traf­fick­ing.

Reg­is­tra­tion: www.tinyurl.com/ y9zt­ncok.

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