Mia Pe'an, Executive Director of "My Sister's Place HT," an Atlanta based human rights organization that provides temporary housing and counselling for women who have been trafficked, described the situation as “a growing epidemic.”
Pe'an told Wiredja in an interview that unsuspecting young Jamaican girls, ages fourteen to sixteen are getting picked up at "Dance Halls" in Kingston and lured to Atlanta under the guise of high paying jobs and education at exclusive institutions.
However, when they arrived in Atlanta, the rosy picture painted by their benefactors turned out to be their worst nightmare, as they are often rented out for sex or hired out to strip club operators in the Peach City as exotic dancers.
According to the ‘My Sister's Place’ CEO, “Last December, we rescued two young teenage women from Jamaica, and repeatedly tried to make contact with your Honorary Consul, Miss Elaine Bryan, she never returned our calls."
“I have no place to say anything about Ms. Bryan's position, and how she needs to run the post of Honourary Consul of Jamaica. However, when you get a call to help one of your own people trying to get out of that life. As a person, a citizen you should be compelled to help them, especially a fourteen-year-old girl. This is unacceptable!” she exclaimed.
“Diligently we found some individuals who were willing to provide clothing, food, and shelter for the young ladies. However, by the end of February, time at the shelter ran out for these women, and they were released back to the streets, to return to the vicious sex traffickers from whom they were rescued,” she lamented.
When contacted, Jamaica's Honourary Consul in Atlanta Dr. Elaine Bryan said she had never been contacted in relation to Jamaican girls being involved in sex trafficking, and she has no information in this regard.
Dr. Bryan acknowledged knowing Mia Pe'an, but not in her capacity as Executive Director of My Sister's Place.
Only two months ago, two Jamaican girls were admitted to the Grady Hospital in downtown Atlanta with cuts and severe bruises after they were badly beaten by the men who paid handsomely for their services.
Pe'an continued: “January 30 this year, just a week before Superbowl, we got a call to rescue four immigrant young women, age range 25 to 30 from Kingston Jamaica. They were rescued from a "TRAP HOUSE."
She explained that a ‘trap house’ is a place where you keep more than 30 young women to have sex with an older gentlemen.”
“These young women were coerced, manipulated, and a promised of a job by a family friend in St Catherine Jamaica, and when they got here, they pumped them with drugs and they were forced to have sex with some 6 to 7 men,” Ms Pe'an bemoaned.
“Two of these young women were pregnant by their pimps, The agency has tried to the best of our ability to help them. Sometimes, lack of money or resources make it very hard.
“One of the young women was let go two days later after staying at the shelter. She was seven months pregnant, weighing 120 lbs, 5 feet, and 9 inches.
“With the aid of law enforcement and friends, we were able to purchase tickets and two of them travelled back to Orlando to meet with family members and eventually sent back to Jamaica. As for the remaining young women, they are roaming the streets homeless and left at the mercy of a crazy pimp,” the CEO exclaimed.
“I can't tell you how frustrated and upset I am about this situation,” Pe'an told Wiredja. “I know we have more agencies dealing with the same issues of immigrant young women who were sold and brought here under false pretences.”
“Child trafficking for pornographic and sexual purposes is a US$32 billion dollar business in the United States. 300 thousand children are trafficked in the US every year,” Pean said.
“In Atlanta, Georgia, 100 thousand young boys and girls ages 14 to 19 are trafficked each year.” Atlanta has a $290 million human trafficking economy, she informed.
Currently in the state of Georgia, sex trafficking is defined as "anyone who is forced into trafficking; tricked into it or coerced in some way. Only then are you identified as a "victim" and provided access to protective responses. All of this requires proof of the use of "force, fraud, and coercion" this leaves these young vulnerable young women at risk to be jail and more."
Atlanta is considered one of the biggest hubs of sex trafficking nationwide. And the illegal business is prominent during major sporting events, according to research.
Approximately 374 girls are commercially sexually exploited monthly in Georgia, according to statistics compiled by the Center for Public Policy Studies.
Atlanta was one of the 14 cities in the United States with the highest rates of minor sex trafficking according to the FBI.
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