It's a secret. Carefully guarded. I first learned of it a long time ago. I tried to stop it, but once the bullets started flying, I admit I high-tailed it out of there. I tell myself that I least made a difference in my small little area of the world and that some thirty-five children had a shot at life without that very real fear of what comes in the dark. It still doesn't feel like enough.
The secret? Georgia leads the world in the crime of child prostitution. This is according to the FBI, Georgia DFACS, and numerous other sources from whom I can't obtain precise citation. That's because there is no precise citation on any record to give, at least that I can find. However, I have been told by those who should know that this is a fact. Now, let me reiterate something. GEORGIA LEADS THE WHOLE WORLD IN THE CRIME OF CHILD PROSTITUTION.
Currently, Georgia law considers this a crime and dutifully arrests said prostitutes and throws them in jail. They are prosecuted. More often than not, the pimps are not thrown in jail and are not prosecuted. In any number of the juvenile facilities in which the girls are imprisoned upon conviction of guilt, they are then prostituted out of the very parking lots of said jails. And no, I can't give you a precise citation on that, either, but I watched it one day and was very nearly arrested for the flaming shit fit I threw. I bet if you stop by a girls juvenile jail and spend some time watching, you too can witness this atrocity. I can give citation to a PBS transcript on the issue: http://www.pbs.org/now/shows/422/transcript.html.
Okay, sure, there are some savvy 16 year olds in that crowd - NOT - a 16 year old prostitute is too vulnerable and uneducated to be savvy. GROW UP! For the most part, the girls range in ages any where from 4 to 16. (After 16, it isn't child abuse any more. Okay, I know, the law says it is, but we're talking about reality here. After 16, you're just another trouble maker kid nobody wants to hear about.)
Georgia has a proposal to fix this problem. It's actual pretty good legislation (except that like all other similar legislation it doesn't stand a snowball's chance in hell of ever being enforced). It proposes to change the law such that a child under the age of 16 isn't capable of committing the crime of prostitution, but instead is defined as a victim of a felony. FINALLY!
Oops! What's this? Georgia Christian Alliance, the Georgia Christian Coalition, Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition, and the Georgia Baptist Convention are vehemently OPPOSED to the passage of this act. Why? Well, in my humble opinion, it is because the act will prosecute the many members of these organizations who I believe are likely sexually abusing children for fun and profit. No, instead they argue that this law legalizes child prostitution. It doesn't. HB 582 and SB 304 absolutely do not legalize child prostitution. Instead, those bills clearly put the guilt on the pimps and the johns and provide at least a structure intended to help the children.
In 2001, the FBI arrested some 15 pimps involved in an organized conspiracy of selling children for sex. It was the first time in 30 years that anyone was sent to prison for pimping children in Georgia. The average sentence was 6 years. This created such an uproar in Atlanta, that advocates got together and opened a model program for these girls called Angela's House. It has 6 beds. Let me reiterate something - there are thousands of child prostitutes in Georgia and the landmark, model program for them holds 6 beds. Eight years later, after this landmark model program has opened, IT STILL ONLY HAS 6 BEDS.
So very much needs to be done to fix this problem, that I can't begin here to say what we can do now. We can do little things every day. When you watch the news and someone talks about an inappropriate relationship between a student and a teacher, contact that station and remind them that calling it a relationship validates the teacher, but calling it rape, which in fact it is under the legal definition, validates the child. Be careful to whom you give money as many who claim to be fixing the problem are the problem. Bitch. Go now to your representative, mayor, governor, police chief and complain bitterly, loudly and often.