ATLANTA, GA - Attorney General Sam Olens, along with non-profit advocate Street Grace, BBDO Atlanta, and the Justice Network, announced a statewide campaign to combat child sex trafficking entitled “Unmasked.”
Sex trafficking is considered modern day slavery in which children are bought and sold for sex. It happens throughout Georgia, from the streets of Atlanta to the back roads of small towns, and is often perpetrated in plain sight.
The “Unmasked” campaign targets the customers and in a gritty way shows that they are not anonymous – we see who they are and they are being unmasked everyday.
As Olens pointed out at today’s press conference, “When we think of the perpetrators of this horrendous crime, pimps and traffickers immediately come to mind. However, they are not the only ones responsible for the commercial sexual exploitation of children. Purchasers are to blame as well.”
The “Unmasked” campaign features a PSA, which premieres today on the Justice Network, which can be seen locally on WXIA-TV channel 11.3/Comcast 213 and on WMAZ-TV (Macon) channel 13.3/Comcast 234, along with print, digital and out of home components throughout the state.
“Street Grace's mission is to end Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking (DMST), and we know this cannot be accomplished without a strategic, coordinated effort to address demand. It is necessary to utilize awareness, data and research that supports the pursuit, prosecution and restoration of those that buy,” said Cheryl DeLuca-Johnson, President and CEO of Street Grace. “Through the partnership with the Attorneys General, Justice Network and BBDO Atlanta on the launch of the Unmasked Campaign we are closer to our goal.”
The underground sex economy in Atlanta is worth $290M per year – more than metro Atlanta's illegal drug and gun trade combined – according to a study released by the Urban Institute in 2014. In Georgia, 91% of children who were reported as DMST victims were currently enrolled in school (according to GA Cares).
“We have made important strides in Georgia against human trafficking, but the fight is far from over,” said Olens. “We must continue to educate our citizens about the atrocities that occur in their own communities and address the problem of demand. Now is the time for action, and I encourage Georgians to take a stand against human trafficking in our state.”
"Justice Network is proud to support Street Grace, Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens’ office and their mission to stop sex trafficking by unmasking the perpetrators,” said Steve Schiffman, CEO of Justice Network. "Through this partnership, Justice Network is continuing its societal mission to make communities safer not just in Georgia, but throughout the US and give this campaign the national platform this critical issue deserves.”
The campaign started in Georgia and has now been signed on by the Attorney Generals in Arizona, Indiana and South Carolina. The goal is to have the program be adopted by all 50 states.
"All of us at BBDO Atlanta were shocked and horrified that 12 and 13 old children were being sold for sex in staggering numbers right here in our backyards. We knew we had to get involved,” said Wil Boudreau, Chief Creative Officer, BBDO Atlanta. “So with the support and guidance of Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens and the dedicated team at Street Grace, we developed a gritty, powerful campaign directed right at the customers driving demand. These perpetrators need to know they are not anonymous. They will be unmasked."
To download the PSA, please visit here.
Images and video from the press conference are available here.
If you are motivated to help spread the message and need assets, please contact Lauren Herstik, BBDO Atlanta.