Executive Director Bobbi Starr went before Columbus City Council on 23 July 2019.
The city council meetings are an excellent opportunity to keep our city officials up to date on the fight to end Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking, and the victories won along the way.
On this day, she shared the news that Governor Kemp passed legislation that means no children will be charged with prostitution. This change in law ends the criminalization of children. Under 18 they are a child, the victim of a crime, and should be treated as such. The Department of Family and Children Services has to provide therapeutic services for children identified as victims of DMST.
The buyers of sex-trafficked children now reach a higher penalty. Traffickers of children can now face 25 years to life in prison.
Micah’s Promise is a partner organization with the Georgia Statewide Human Trafficking Task Force.
As a partner agency with the task force, we created a flyer for Work Group II (Youth Aware and Safe) which promotes the identified best practice curriculums for our school systems. There are seven identified best practice curriculums for Preventing Childhood Sexual Abuse and Exploitation and schools can access this information here: https://georgiacenterforchildadvocacy.org/learn-more/resources/targ-access.html
We created a flyer for our school systems and are working collaboratively to disseminate this information throughout the state by providing our school Superintendents the info. (School TARG Flyer)
To have the most powerful impact, we created a flyer to inform parents. The brochure allows parents to engage and advocate for the identified best practice curriculums as well as learn more about the prevalence of sexual abuse, exploitation, and prevention. (Parent TARG Flyer)
The most important thing is the fact that not only are we fighting to restore sex-trafficked children, but we also need to stop it, we need to prevent it! And prevention is key. Building Towards Wellness Coalition received Columbus Crime Prevention grant funds to offer the Stewards of Children curriculum free in our community. Stewards of Children curriculum teaches adults “how to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to child sexual abuse.”
If we can prevent childhood sexual abuse, we can prevent the majority of trafficking because the majority of trafficked victims were first sexually abused in early childhood. Shelley Hall, the Director of the Victim's Witness, was conducting a Stewards of Children training. She made the point that if those at the leadership level of our community (City Council) would required city employees to attend stewards of children discipline, we would reach our tipping point.
Micah’s Promise wants to challenge the city council to take the training. The city is already paying for it. Columbus made it free to the community. It's just a two-hour training. We will bring it to you.
“I don't see why we can't get our HR department to see if we can orchestrate some of these training events throughout the city and we'll see if we can get involved in that as well.” - Mayor Henderson