Georgia: Child Prostitution -- The Hidden Crime
September 21, 2005
At Atlanta City Hall Friday, a panel and audience members discussed a recently completed report that found child prostitution is thriving in the city. At the forum, a summary of the 75-page United Way-funded draft report circulated among the some 150 mostly female attendees.
Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard and Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin said fighting child prostitution requires the sustained community involvement of nongovernmental groups, social workers and local, state and federal authorities. Franklin said the effort would require an all-out campaign, and the panel and report represented just its very beginning.
The report found child prostitution prevalent in rich and poor neighborhoods. Children were forced into sex work from south Atlanta's Metropolitan Parkway -- an area known for prostitution -- to uptown Buckhead's Pharr Road and in "some of the finest hotels in Atlanta," the report stated. Prostitution-related activity was observed around most city public schools, especially those in predominantly black areas. The report included detailed maps describing where child prostitution had been detected.
Atlanta Deputy Police Chief Peter Andresen said the city needs to face the crime, which often starts with child abuse at home. Child prostitution is too big a crime to "prosecute our way out of," said Howard, who recommended that social workers and school officials network to watch for signs of abuse and intervene when necessary.
Pending trial, many pimps are allowed out on bond and can then intimidate witnesses, said Howard. "Anna," a former child sex worker on the panel who helped send her pimp to federal prison in 2002, said that was what happened to her.
So far this year, two people have been arrested for pimping in Atlanta, and eight children have been arrested for prostitution, said Andresen.
08.17.05; Ty Tagmai