Just last week, we were honored to host Ivanka Trump, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, and Trump administration officials at two local safe havens for survivors. We heard powerful testimony from courageous women once trapped in modern-day slavery.
Hearing from survivors, you quickly learn that some have been able to temporarily escape from the vicious cycle of human trafficking. However, for far too many, it is nearly impossible to leave the past behind and start anew. Left without viable options, vulnerable souls become easy targets, and the exploitation continues – unchecked. The time for change is now.
A few days ago, Brian and I unveiled new legislation to empower survivors. By changing state law, we will create new pathways for survivors to erase criminal arrests and convictions related to their victimization. We will force felons who committed dangerous sexual offenses – pimping, buying sex, or keeping a place of prostitution – to now register as sex offenders.
We will revoke someone’s commercial driver’s license and ban the driver for life if he or she is convicted of human trafficking and used a commercial motor vehicle to do it. We will close a loophole to ensure that foster parents cannot exploit children in their custody and claim “consent.” Yes – that is a real loophole.
With this legislation, we are showing the world that Georgians care about everyone who calls our state home — even those who feel invisible, even those who have no voice.
In the days, months, and years ahead, we will continue to back our words with action to make Georgia a safe haven for survivors, not abusers. We will not stop until every victim is rescued and every captor is brought to justice.
Marty Kemp is Georgia’s First Lady.