Two girls excitedly walk off their plane that just landed in Paris, eager to experience the city they have only had the pleasure of seeing in movies.
Immersed in the liveliness of Paris, their happiness is snatched from them as they are betrayed, dragged and forced into a hard-to-escape lifestyle, the beginning stages of human trafficking. Many are familiar with the depiction from the movie “Taken,” but many fail to realize the reality that lies behind such a film.
The Amnesty International chapter at the University of West Georgia prides itself on spreading the word on human rights because the university is so close to one of the biggest sex trafficking hubs in the world.
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is the busiest airport in the world, and is an important destination for political refugees. Amnesty International says that makes the airport a target for human traffickers. Amnesty Interanational’s regional headquarters is actually located in Atlanta.
Georgia’s capital city proves that the U.S. is not that different from well-known sex trafficking countries such as Czechoslovakia. FBI reports that Atlanta is the center for the sex-trafficking of adolescence and around 200 to 300 youth are prostituted in Atlanta a month.
Teixiera Monts is the president of Amnesty International. Passion drives her to share her knowledge on the issue.
“There is training in airports and bus stations to help workers identify sex trafficking,” said Monts.
Many places that have high volumes of trafficking are transportation places. Still, it is a difficult task.
“Let’s say I’m at the window of a transportation station. I would only have 60 seconds to four minutes to identify if this is potentially a case of human trafficking. You look at the demeanor of both people, look at their identification. Where they’re going and where they’re coming from.”
Monts continues her scenario by saying sometimes these identification tools do not work because victims of trafficking do not know they are victims until they reach where they are going.
A victim believes they are going somewhere to work for money to send back at home, but once at their destination, it is another story. Their identification is taken from them, destroyed; and they are stuck in the country with no knowledge of the language. They are rendered helpless.
Keeping with the tradition of the organization, the UWG chapter plans to continue write offs, which are done nationally.
“We will express to these countries that we will not stand for human rights violations here nor there,” said Monts.
Amnesty International has been quiet on the UWG campus, but Vice President John Belcher is excited about the upcoming semesters.
“We’re trying to get the organization started up again. See what kind of events we can have to bring in interest.”
Although the campus organization already held their interest meeting, they still welcome students to their other meetings.
Human trafficking is one of many of the human rights issues within the area. The organization plans to address other human rights matters like race, gender and the death penalty.
“Anything where people are being sided,” said Belcher.
“We need to produce awareness on human rights,” said the organizations advisor Dr. Neema Nori. “Everyone is affected.”