DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — The Georgia Bureau of Investigation say that human trafficking is becoming more common across the state and in metro Atlanta.
Channel 2′s Michele Newell is learning that there’s a dire need for places for victims of human trafficking to go once they’ve been rescued.
One group home Newell spoke with says they have seen so many cases of human trafficking that they have had to start turning some people away.
The GBI’s Child Sex Trafficking Taskforce trains other agencies how to help in the fight against human trafficking, but those they rescue remain in need of housing resources.
Gigi’s House is one of just four group homes in the entire state of Georgia for sex trafficking victims between the ages of 13 and 19. Executive Director Carla Smith says sometimes they even help girls as young as 12.
“Unfortunately, there are not many places for girls who are victims of sex trafficking or children who are victims,” Smith said.
Smith says that because they are a long-term facility, meaning that girls can stay for years until they age out, they are at their capacity.
“We get 2, 3 referrals in a day, and we have to have a wait list,” she explained. “There are other group homes that are available, but sometimes they hotel them.”
Smith describes having to turn away girls as “heart wrenching,” but hopes that soon they’ll be able to help more children. Gigi’s House is expanding to a second home.
“We have five bedrooms on one side and five bedrooms on the other,” she told Newell.
Special Agent in Charge of the GBI’s Child Exploitation and Computer Crimes Unit Brian Johnston is fighting to help stop human trafficking in the Peach State.
“Last year, as a taskforce, we made 27 arrests,” he said. “We have identified about 102 child sex trafficking victims throughout the state of Georgia.”
Governor Brian Kemp and First Lady Marty Kemp are also doing their part to battle trafficking in the state.
After beginning her position as First Lady of Georgia, Marty Kemp established the GRACE Commission, which fights against human trafficking.
The governor and first lady are trying to make it harder for criminals to get back out onto the streets once they’re arrested.