Georgia First Lady Marty Kemp has become a key player in the state’s efforts to combat human trafficking. (photo courtesy of the Office of the Governor)
Recently, Shared Hope International awarded Georgia an “A” on the strength of its laws to combat sex trafficking. The rating is an improvement from the “B” the state received from the organization in 2018 and the “C” from the first report card in 2011.
Georgia’s First Lady Marty Kemp welcomed the news calling it “a major accomplishment for our state.” Still, she says, “our work is not finished.”
“We will continue the fight to dismantle this criminal enterprise and restore the lives of the countless victims,” says Kemp. “We will not stop until the last victim is rescued – because one person trapped in the shadows is one too many.”
The First Lady made combatting human trafficking a key project of hers after her husband became governor. She now co-chairs the Georgians for Refuge, Action, Compassion, and Education (GRACE) Commission. The commission’s mission is to “tackle human trafficking, seek justice for victims, and hold bad actors accountable,” according to its website.
Gov. Brian Kemp credits the First Lady, the GRACE Commission, Attorney General Chris Carr, the General Assembly, law enforcement, and non-profit organizations for their efforts in fighting human trafficking in Georgia. He says they have worked hard over the past year to raise awareness, strengthen laws, help victims heal, and take human traffickers off the streets.
“We look forward to continuing the fight to end this evil industry,” Gov. Kemp says.
How Georgia ranks
Since 2011, Shared Hope International has graded states based on the strength of their laws related to the commercial sexual exploitation of children. Grades are based on an annual review of state laws as analyzed under the Protected Innocence Challenge Legislative Framework.
Only fifteen states, including Georgia, scored an “A” this year. However, the report card indicates that all but two states – Illinois and Missouri – have made progress in improving their scores since the first report card was issued in 2011.
The report card addresses state laws related to the following:
- Preventing domestic minor sex trafficking by reducing demand
- Rescuing and restoring victims through improved training on identification
- Establishing protocols and facilities for victim placement
- Mandating appropriate services and shelter
- Incorporating trauma-reducing mechanisms into the justice system
Georgia scored a 96 out of 100 possible points on the 2019 Shared Hope report card. Only three other states – Tennessee, Montana, and Nevada – scored higher. Louisiana rounded out the top five with a score of 95.
Here’s how Georgia scored in each category:
- Criminalization of Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking: 10/10
- Criminal Provisions for Demand: 24.5/25
- Criminal Provisions for Traffickers: 15/15
- Criminal Provisions for Facilitators: 7.5/10
- Protective Provisions for the Child Victims: 24.5/27.5
- Criminal Justice Tools for Investigation and Prosecution: 14.5/15
About Shared Hope
Shared Hope International is an established leader in the movement to end slavery. The group was started by former U.S. Congresswoman Linda Smith who was inspired to act when she traveled into the heart of the brothel district in Mumbai, India, in 1998.
Shared Hope’s mission is to prevent the conditions that foster sex trafficking, restore and empower survivors, and bring justice to vulnerable adults, boys and girls.
To learn more about human trafficking and what you can do to help fight it, visit Shared Hope online.