After an informational class about human trafficking quickly filled up in December, the Gwinnett County Police Department is holding another.
The next class will be held Jan. 22 at Mercies Christian Church in Lilburn. The class does not have an attendance cap, which will allow for a “larger community presence” than the first, the department said in a press release.
The class will include discussion on the definition of human trafficking, Georgia statistics and laws, who victims and traffickers tend to be and what the community can do to combat trafficking. Representatives from the Georgia Attorney General’s Office, Gwinnett County Public Schools and other community agencies and non-profit organizations will also be in attendance.
In Georgia, human trafficking is defined by “compelling or coercing a person's labor, services, or commercial sex acts; or using children under the age of 18 for commercial sex acts,” according to the attorney general’s office. Victims include vulnerable people like runaways, “women with few job skills” and immigrants in fear of deportation, according to the attorney general’s office.
The initial class was created in response to online rumors about people trying to take women and children for the purposes of sex trafficking. The rumors generally emerge on social media and involve discussion of being followed in large stores and parking lots. Shortly before the Gwinnett class was announced, the Johns Creek Police Department posted on Facebook about multiple unfounded reports stemming from a woman who had been aggressively panhandling.
The class is recommended for people aged 16 and older due to “the graphic nature of human trafficking,” the department said. It will begin at 7 p.m. on Jan. 22. Mercies Christian Church is located at 4000 Five Forks Trickum Road. Those with questions should contact Master Police Officer Ashley M. Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org or Mercies Christian Church at 770-925-8600. For more information about the issue of human trafficking, visit Polaris, a charity that runs the national human trafficking hotline.
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