To help parents and the community learn and understand about the very real problem of human trafficking in North Atlanta, area Rotary clubs, spearheaded by the Brookhaven Rotary, are showing the film 8 Days at North Springs Charter High School, in Sandy Springs, at 6:30pm on Thursday, January 12.
The film will be followed by a panel discussion with law enforcement experts: Sandy Springs Police Chief Kenneth DeSimone, Dunwoody Police Chief Billy Grogan, Brookhaven Police Chief Gary Yandura, Director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Vernon Keenan, and a representative from the FBI Task Force. The panel will be moderated by CNN journalist and North Springs’ parent Lisa Cohen, who helps run the CNN Freedom Project which has been reporting on and documenting stories of human trafficking since 2011.
“We chose the 12th because January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month and January 11th is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, a focus of the CNN Freedom Project, so there is great energy and expertise around this topic,” explained Bonnie Hardage, President of the Brookhaven Rotary. “Also, Brookhaven Police Chief Gary Yandura has been engaged and involved in this problem for years. He is a topic expert and in 2007, served on the state’s first human trafficking task force,” she added.
According to Steve Soteres, a Brookhaven Rotarian and Vice President of Choate Interior Construction Company, headquartered in Sandy Springs, “Human Trafficking is a very real thing and Atlanta is a hotbed of activity with 40% of the buyers coming from North Atlanta. This is NOT an inner city problem! It also is not just girls, boys are just as likely to be targeted and the average age will shock you. For boys the average age is 11 and for girls it’s 13. The “industry” out paces the drug and gun trafficking “industry” 10 to 1.”
The panel discussion will focus not only on the trauma associated with human trafficking but healing and an array of actions individuals can take to address the problem. The film will be shown in the North Springs’ theater and is free and open to the public. Attendees are asked to reserve seats by logging onto the Rotary Club of Brookhaven’s website at http://brookhavenrotary.org/2016/welcome. //
North Springs Charter High School, a comprehensive high school located at 7447 Roswell Rd. in Sandy Springs, is home to the state’s only dual arts and sciences magnet programs.