At 16-years old, Head says she was being sold on the streets of Atlanta for sex.
“I did not know that a normal, average man who was a preacher, who was a lawyer, who was a senator – could turn into this monster,” Head said. “That is the scariest moment when you are amongst people who claim to be normal yet they purchase you and they turn into these monsters. They rape you. They beat you. And then act as if they’re normal. These are not your normal pedophiles.”
Experts say, across the globe, millions of people are trafficked each year. Hundreds of thousands of the victims are women and girls. But what surprises many — is the rate it is happening in affluent neighborhoods where minors are being turned into sex slaves.
“The buyers aren’t just pedophiles. The buyers are normal community men, normal leaders, people that belong to someone,” said Jennifer Swain, state coordinator for A Future. Not A Past.
A Future. Not A Past., is a campaign organized by the Juvenile Justice Fund in Georgia. Swain and her peers, such as Keisha Head, work to educate and prevent exploited children.
According to the Georgia Governor’s Office, more than 400 girls are sexually exploited every month in the state. On average, the girls begin having sex for money between the age of 12 and 14.
“Atlanta is one of 14 cities in the United States that are the highest in terms of child prostitution and sexual exploitation,” said Brian D Lamkin, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office. “It’s a major transportation hub — not just domestically but internationally.”