Ending Child Sex Trafficking with Safe Harbor Amendment
By Helen Drexler, Regional Vice President Blue Cross and Blue Shield
Elections are held every two years, but it is not nearly that often that we have the opportunity to come together as Georgians to truly make a difference. Whether urban or rural, Republican or Democrat, business leader or community volunteer, there is an issue upon which we can all agree because it is simply the right thing to do.
One of those issues is on the General Election ballot this November. Constitutional Amendment 2, if passed, will create the Safe Harbor for Sexually Exploited Children Fund. More importantly, it will help to improve the lives of some of Georgia’s most vulnerable children – children who are our neighbors, our friends and even our family.
Child sex trafficking is a horrible crime that leaves even greater tragedy in its wake. Frankly, it is hard to believe that in the same metropolitan region that is home to a booming technology industry, children are being sold for sex. That as families spend their summer vacations in the mountains or on the coast, children are being subjected to violence and exploitation. That in a state where the HOPE scholarship has made college more accessible to thousands of families, children lose their innocence at as young as 9 years old and far too often their own hope for a successful future.
Children who are trafficked have often lived a life filled with violence, forced drug abuse and constant threats to their safety. They experience some of the most extreme physical and psychological abuse imaginable. Those who escape or are rescued are in dire need of help to cope with depression, deal with drug dependency and address serious mental and behavioral issues. The help they need is both intensive and costly, and it is what the Safe Harbor Fund will directly support through $1 to $2 million in dedicated annual funding that will be used to help them return to a normal and healthy way of life.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia and Amerigroup are among the companies proud to be part of a broad statewide coalition that includes wonderful organizations like the Junior League of Atlanta, whose commitment to ending trafficking in our state has helped bring this critical issue to the forefront. We are encouraging our associates to vote yes on Amendment 2 this November and hope that our partners throughout the business community will do the same. This is our opportunity to the right thing for communities throughout Georgia.
To learn what you can do to support Amendment 2, visit www.safeharboryes.com.