How Georgia businesses are helping human trafficking victims

Certain businesses in Georgia, Florida required to post human trafficking notice

In an effort to fight against human and sex trafficking, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation issued Monday a new version of a notice that certain businesses are required to post in their buildings.

The notice is meant to bring awareness to the danger, and provide victims and potential victims of human trafficking resources and information to get help.

Bars, strip clubs, airports, bus stops, emergency rooms within hospitals, rest stops, hotels and government buildings are among the businesses and establishments that are mandated by Georgia law to hang the notice. The signs, which are written in English and Spanish, must be posted in each public restroom inside the business and near the entrance of the business. 

VIEW OR PRINT: Georgia's 2018 Human Trafficking Notice

The notice reads:

Are you or someone you know being sold for sex or made/forced to work for little or no pay and cannot leave?

Call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-7888 or the Statewide Georgia Hotline for Domestic Minor Trafficking at 1-844-842-3678 for help.

All victims of slavery and human trafficking have rights and are protected by international, federal, and state law.

The hotline is:
(1) Anonymous and confidential;
(2) Available 24 hours a day, seven days a week;
(3) Able to provide help, referral to services, training, and general information;
(4) Accessible in 170 languages;
(5) Operated by a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization; and
(6) Toll free.

In Florida, a similar law was passed in 2015 and went into effect in 2016. It requires businesses, such as hotels and places offering massage services, to post the advisory near the entrance of the buildings.

The human trafficking notices posted in certain businesses in both Georgia and Florida have helped save thousands of people, according to Robin Graber, director of the Rape Recovery Team at the Women's Center of Jacksonville.

"What we find out most from human trafficking survivors is that they don't know what human trafficking is, so seeing the poster helps them realize that maybe they're one of the survivors," Graber told News4Jax on Tuesday.

In 2017, the National Human Trafficking Hotline received about 750 calls that identified 2,204 victims in Georgia, and it received 1,600 calls and identified 1,755 victims in Florida.

Some of those victims get assistance at the Women's Center of Jacksonville.

"Do they have access to their identification? Are they able to come and go as they please? We start talking about that with people and many survivors believe that it's normal," Graber said.

On Tuesday, News4Jax checked Jacksonville businesses, and many in San Marco didn't have the human trafficking notice posted at all. According to Florida law, those businesses could face up to $500 in fines. But a lot of people are wondering if the law is actually being enforced. 

Graber said it not only sends an important message to potential victims, "It sends a message to the perpetrators as well that we, as a state and community, are looking into this issue."