Sex Trafficking

Stories relating to sex trafficking in Georgia

U.S. Department of State /

Ambassador-at-Large Susan Coppedge is a senior advisor to the U.S. Secretary of State and leads that department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP Office). She’s a former assistant United States attorney in the Northern District of Georgia, with a 15-year history of prosecuting sex and labor trafficking cases.

David Goldman / Associated Press


Last week, the Fulton County Commission passed a resolution that would form a coalition between the county government and stakeholders to tackle the problem of sex trafficking.


Former Mayor Shirley Franklin and others like Deborah Richardson, former Fulton Commissioner Nancy Boxill and Fulton County Judge Nina Hickson have made this a priority in recent years.

It's also been widely reported that the Atlanta area is a major hub for trafficking. So why a resolution now?

Credit Card Companies Move To Fight Sex Trafficking Ads

Jul 8, 2015
Shot of
Alison Guillory / WABE

The big three credit card companies, MasterCard, Visa and American Express, are prohibiting cardholders from using credit cards for adult ads on the classified advertising website, the largest ad listing website in the U.S. after Craigslist, and other sites have come under fire over their adult page ads.

Authorities and anti-trafficking advocates have accused Backpage and others of allowing the sex trafficking of minors through these adult Web pages.

Photo silhouette of a boy and his shadow.
~ kyu / kyu

At the Carter Center in Atlanta this week, the first World Summit to End Human Trafficking took place. Coinciding with the event, Atlanta-based organization youthSpark is releasing a new study about the sex trade involving young males.

It’s the first ever regarding adolescent boys.

A placard of a child sits on a table during a conference on human sex trafficking  in Atlanta.
David Goldman / Associated Press

On Monday, Johns Creek police arrested 15 people in a two-day operation targeting sex work. It included an arrest of a man who is charged with seeking sex with a minor.

Over the years police stings like the one in Johns Creek have rescued many minors and adults forced into sex trafficking. It's also netted the arrests of traffickers and buyers. But authorities and advocates working to bring awareness about sex trafficking admit there's a lot more to do.

In Georgia, Camila Wright will be dedicated to the prosecution of human trafficking.
Ga. Attorney General Office

For more than a decade, efforts to combat sex trafficking have included anti-sex trafficking campaigns and establishing tougher sentencing guidelines.

But, there’s never been one person at the state level solely devoted to prosecuting human trafficking cases. That's changing.

  Often sex trafficking victims are transported through multiple counties. And when suspects are caught, figuring out which jurisdiction to try the case in can be problematic.

It’s something assistant attorney general Camila Wright had experienced.

Dalia Racine

This week WABE reported that an Urban Institute study revealed the underground commercial sex trade is big business in metro Atlanta.

In comparison to seven other cities profiled in 2007, $290 million was generated within the metro area.

The title page of the Urban Institute's new report on the underground commercial sex industry in eight U.S. cities, including Atlanta.
Urban Institute

It’s big business and it keeps Atlanta among the top cities for criminal activity related to sex trafficking.

A new national report indicates that in one year, the underground commercial sex economy brought nearly $290 million to metro Atlanta.

The U.S. Department of Justice funded the report.

This report from the Urban Institute is about money.

WABE 90.1 FM

January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.

The sex trafficking of minors placed Georgia in the national spotlight after a FBI lists of cities with a high incidence of the crime included Atlanta.

Since then, there’s been a collective effort among advocates, lawmakers, survivors and others to combat sex trafficking.

In part one of  this report, WABE’s Rose Scott profiles Georgia’s current attorney general Sam Olens.

Olens calls himself a newbie in the fight against sex trafficking.

The report card is based on the Protected Innocence Legislative Framework, an analysis of state laws performed by the American Center for Law and Justice and Shared Hope International. It sets a national standard of protection against domestic minor sex t
Shared Hope International

Georgia continues to make strides in passing laws to stop child sex trafficking.

That’s according to an annual report card that grades states on their legislation.

WABE’s Rose Scott reports Georgia is also focusing on stopping the demand side of the crime.

A three-day FBI special operation targeting child sex trafficking recently rescued more than a hundred teens and also netted the arrests of 1-hundred and 50 people.

Atlanta and Augusta were among the 76 cities raided in the operation.

The effort to stop child sex trafficking has attracted a growing numbers of advocates and WABE’s Rose Scott reports there’s now a movement to get corporations more involved.

It’s a question I’ve been asking a lot since reporting on the sexual exploitation of children.



The FBI says the three-day nationwide raid focusing on underage victims of prostitution rescued 105 sexually exploited children and arrested 150 pimps and others.

And the sweep included Georgia.

In the joint operation, federal, state and local law enforcement conducted the sweep.

The sweeps targeted truck stops, roadside motels and even casinos.

Officials also say some minors were “groomed” from foster care and group homes which often makes them vulnerable.

View video from the 3-day sweep.

Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens

  Georgia attorney general Sam Olens has joined forty-eight other attorneys general urging Congress to amend a federal law to help states fight the use of the internet for prostitution and child sex trafficking.

Their request is aimed at amending the Communications Decency Act of 1996.

WABE’s Rose Scott reports they are targeting a specific website.

The original intent of the law was to protect children from what could be viewed as indecent.

U.S. Attorney's Office

This web-only news item is part of WABE’s continuing coverage of the fight against human trafficking in Georgia.

A Buckhead couple is facing Federal child sex trafficking accusations.

Today, the Atlanta U.S. Attorney’s Office announced that a Federal grand jury had indicted Steven E. Thompson and Tierra Michelle Waters on charges of conspiracy and of trafficking a juvenile for sex.

Christine Dolan
Denis O'Hayer/WABE

This interview is part of WABE's continuing coverage of the fight against human trafficking in Georgia.

Educators from around Georgia gathered at the Carter Center in Atlanta on May 13 and 14, for a conference on human trafficking, organized by the State Department of Education.  

The purpose was to help teachers, counselors and other educators keep children from becoming victims of human trafficking, especially in the child sex trade.  

Denis O'Hayer/WABE News

This interview is part of WABE's continuing coverage of the fight against human trafficking in Georgia.

On May 13 and 14, teachers and other educators in Georgia gathered at the Carter Center in Atlanta for a conference on human trafficking, sponsored by the state Department of Education.  

The idea is to help teachers, counselors and others learn how to keep children from becoming human trafficking victims, especially in the child sex trade.  

Credit Nick NeSmith

This week WABE aired remarks from Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed that more recent data is needed to give detailed numbers about sex trafficking in Atlanta.

Reed also said the crime has significantly moved out to the rural areas.

WABE’s Rose Scott reports on reaction to Reed’s comments.

If you type in sex trafficking and Atlanta into any online search engine, countless links to articles, presentation papers and news documentaries will surface.

Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed with Denis O'Hayer
Jason Parker / WABE

Next week the Georgia Department of Education holds a conference to help educators fight human trafficking.

It’s been several years since new information has been reported into how many children are exploited statewide and locally.

WABE’s Rose Scott reports many feel new information is needed.

WABE 90.1 FM/news

A statewide campaign is being introduced by Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens.

It’s the first time a united front will target the demand side of child sex trafficking.

As he stood to announce the campaign, Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens was flanked by federal, state and local law agencies, state lawmakers and advocates.

SCLC Conducts Justice for Girls Roundtable

Mar 11, 2013
Aleck Ragsdale

An Atlanta based civil rights organization this weekend sought to join an ongoing effort to curb sex trafficking.

Jasmine Guy has done it all, acting, directing, dancing and starring on Broadway.

But, it’s the NBC television comedy about campus life at a historically black college, where she made her television debut.

Guy played Whitley Gilbert, the sassy-talking-southern belle of Hillman College.

Decades later, Jasmine Guy is now speaking for a different cause, the I Am Not Yours Atlanta based organization.


Anti-human trafficking advocates are praising authorities in an arrest of an alleged sex-trafficker in Taliaferro County.

According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Jonathon Nathaniel Kelly was stopped on interstate I-20 in Taliaferro, which is northeast of Atlanta.

Along with the arrest, a teenager was rescued.

The Taliaferro County arrest highlights the state’s effort in training law enforcement.

It’s not an easy conversation by any means talking about the prostitution of children.

As part of WABE’s continuing coverage of sex trafficking here in Atlanta, this report takes a look at the challenges of getting more men involved as advocates.

Each year 28,000 men pay for sex with adolescent females in Georgia.

Of that, 10,000 purchase sex with adolescent females multiple times a year.

According to the research by the Shapiro Group, the typical buyer is a white, middle-age upper middle class man that lives in the Northern perimeter outside I-285.

WABE 90.1 FM News

Atlanta’s Jewish leaders and members of their congregations came together to talk about child sex trafficking.

It’s part of the Open Jewish Project dedicated to educating and empowering Jews to be proactive about the issue.

Hundreds packed inside a meeting hall at The Temple, Atlanta’s oldest synagogue.

A panel, including Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens, U.S district attorney Sally Yates, advocates and lawmakers told the crowd horrific statistics about children forced into prostitution.

U.S. Attorney's Office

This week, President Obama announced new initiatives to combat human trafficking, including an executive order that requires closer tracking of U.S. Government contractors around the world.  

The goal is to ensure they are not involved in human trafficking, especially the sex trafficking of children.  

As part of WABE's continuing coverage of the fight against child sex trafficking, WABE's Denis O'Hayer spoke with Atlanta U.S. Attorney Sally Yates about the president's executive order, and about some recent indictments in the metro Atlanta area.

Last week, Federal prosecutors in Atlanta continued bringing cases against five men accused of pimping young girls in Atlanta area hotels and motels.  Meanwhile, state authorities continue to develop their strategies, a year after they made the fight against child sex trafficking a GBI priority.  As part of WABE's continuing coverage of the issue, Denis O'Hayer got an update from GBI Director Vernon Keenan.