NOW Covers Child Prostitution in Atlanta
Last night’s episode of NOW on PBS focused on child prostitution in Atlanta, GA. According to an estimate provided in the introduction, “law enforcement sources say that across America, tens of thousands of children are involved in prostitution.” Let’s try that again, with emphasis: law enforcement sources say that across America, tens of thousands of children are involved in prostitution.
Reporters talked to advocates and Atlanta’s mayor Shirley Franklin, former prostitutes, and others. One woman interviewed reports that she was first paid for sexual activities at 7 years old, and that many of the girls who become prostitutes have been sexually abused at a young age by relatives or other close adults. Another reports girls having been branded by their pimps. Branded.
A 2005 report from the Mayor’s office [PDF] offers these alarming findings:
- African American girls are disproportionately affected, with 90% of cases reported to the Center to End Adolescent Sexual Exploitation in 2004 coming from this population.
- Anecdotal evidence suggests that the average age of the affected girls is 14, with some as young as 10 and 11 reported.
- There is only one safe house east of the Mississippi River specifically for girls who have been sexually exploited – it is Angela’s House in Georgia and can only accommodate six girls at a time.
According to NOW, Atlanta is not an isolated case, but one of 20 or so American cities with a significant child prostitution/exploitation problem.
The program is available online as video, audio, and a podcast.