Hope in the Darkness


Staff Writer

  A press release from the President of the United States in December 2014, declared January as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Awareness Month. 

Atlanta is ranked number one for trafficking young women for the sole purpose of sex.  The life of a sex-trafficked victim is nothing short of a living horror.  So why don’t these girls just run away?  

In a perfect world, there would be a simple solution.  However, there is no simple way out of the illegal sex trade industry.  Police and investigators often are not aware of the signs when dealing with narcotics or gangs that there might be more going on below the surface.  

One sex-trafficked survivor recalled a time when she was an adolescent on the street.  Barely able to walk in the eight-inch that heels her new pimp gave her, a police car pulled up beside her.  As she walked over to the car, she thought this was the light at the end of the tunnel, and he was going to help her escape.  He proceeded to tell her she did not belong here as she wept for joy.  Before she could wipe away her tears, he told her she belonged on Peachtree Street because that was where all the “pretty whores” walked.   If our Atlanta police enforcement is not going to help, who do these girls turn to?  

These women who have been victims to countless number of men cannot assume all police will help them.  The pimps know this and will use it as a threat to the girl.  The pimp will often times tell her that the police cannot help and will throw her in jail.  If she goes to the police, nine times out of ten she will be charged with prostitution or street walking. 

 Luckily enough, there are dozens of organizations in Atlanta whose sole focus is to help these beaten and battered women and young girls out of the nightmare they live in.  One certain organization in Atlanta called Out of Darkness has a mission to “reach, rescue, and restore all victims of commercial sexual exploitation.” 

They train individual volunteers on the dangers and trials these women go through on a day to day basis.  They educate through readings and training sessions, as well as other resources.  Once trained, there are several volunteer options that someone can join: prayer team, princess night, medical outreach, jail outreach, rescuers and hotline responders, mentor, Solomon safe house, speakers bureau and an events team.  

Princess night, which takes place every Friday, volunteers from Out of Darkness walk the streets of Atlanta handing out roses with a message to women in high-suspected areas.  The message is of hope and also has the hotline number that she can call if she is ready to escape her pimp and traumatic life.  

The biggest problem in saving these girls from the streets is that there is nowhere for them to go once rescued.  There is no one to help them cope with what terrors they have been through.  

But there are plenty of organizations here in Atlanta that you can get involved with to help.  In order to end the war against sexual exploitation, we have to raise community awareness.  That can start right here at Piedmont.  

If your heart is being called to help in any way, research different organizations in Atlanta such as Out of Darkness or Wellspring.  Once you contact them, they will be more than willing to help you get involved and join their team of volunteers.