I was surprised when Atlanta artist Flora Rosefsky approached me today at the annual meeting of Faith Alliance of Metro Atlanta, insisting she had to talk with me about something she’d become angry and passionate about: You have to know, she told me — Atlanta is Number One as a child sex trafficking city in the United States. I told her, no: According to the FBI, it’s one of the top 14, though it’s often listed first because the city begins with the letter A.
Flora hadn’t heard about the Facing Project until today’s conversation, yet she’d heard about Atlanta’s reputation as a hub for the buying and selling of kids for sex. And she could not remain silent. You know, she said, half joking because of Atlanta’s reputation for gridlock on the highways — Atlanta has a traffic problem. And so it does. And she is speaking up.
And does it matter whether Atlanta is “number one,” or “number 14?”
Flora doesn’t think so and neither do those of us involved in the Facing Project. We are standing up and speaking out. If one child is being trafficked, it’s one too many.
We’re putting a face on child sex trafficking, one child at a time, in the debut of the Facing Project on Thursday, March 6, 2014. And we hope you will join us. At 7pm, the sanctuary of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta, 1597 Northeast Expressway, Atlanta, GA 30329, will echo with the voices of the talented artists who have taken the gathered narratives and crafted stories and prose poems and song based on real life trauma.
To find out more, listen to the radio segment that aired on March 5, 2014 on WABE FM 90.1 reported and produced by Rose Scott, who speaks with Yewande Austin, Facing Project Artistic Director, and Co-coordinators Daisha Wilber and Audrey Galex:
Yes, Atlanta has a traffic problem — and a trafficking crisis — and it’s high time we put up road blocks, not simply detours, to stop it. Break the silence: No boy or girl is for sale. Period.
This story originally appeared in Facing Sex Trafficking: Atlanta’s Dirty Little Secret, a publication of The Facing Project that was organized by AIB TV in Atlanta, Georgia.