News 12 First at Five/ September 19, 2013
AUGUSTA, Ga.--You may notice flyers with information about sex trafficking popping up around town. As of September 15th, a new Georgia law requires certain businesses to post the notices letting sex trafficking victims know who to call for help.
GBI Special Agent Charles Kicklighter says, "These signs are being put up in places where victims would most likely be: airports, hotels, bars, strip clubs," he says.
They're required in 13 different types of Georgia businesses, where victim's will hopefully spot the signs. The list includes: adult entertainment establishments, bars, airports, train stations, bus stations, truck stops, emergency rooms, urgent care centers, farm labor contractors, privately operated job recruitment centers, rest stops, hotels, and massage parlors without licensed massage therapists.
Agent Kicklighter says, "We find victims that want help, and numerous times, they never knew how to reach out and get the help."
The hotline to call for help, 1-888-373-7888 is operated by a non-profit instead of law enforcement. It's an option victims may not be afraid to try.
We spoke with a former victim of sex trafficking, who says, "I wish there had have been other avenues that were not law enforcement so I could've reached out to them."
She wishes to remain anonymous, but she was forced into sex slavery as a teenager, and looking back, she wishes she had known how to get help.
"Just you know, something, where I maybe could've went and felt I could go and get myself safe.... and there was nothing like that," she says.
But now, by law, there will be signs with messages to victims posted all over Georgia.
Kicklighter says, "There's even a penalty for these establishments not posting these signs."
And it's no small penalty. If the signs aren't posted properly, law enforcement can fine the business up to $5,000.