Human Trafficking

Fulton County 

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Sex trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery in which individuals perform commercial sex through the use of force, fraud, or coercion. Minors under the age of 18 engaging in commercial sex are considered to be victims of human trafficking, regardless of the use of force, fraud, or coercion.

Unfortunately, sex trafficking occurs in Fulton County and throughout metro Atlanta.

Sex traffickers frequently target victims and then use violence, threats, lies, false promises, debt bondage, or other forms of control and manipulation to keep victims involved in the sex industry for their own profit.

Sex trafficking exists within diverse and unique sets of venues and businesses including fake massage businesses, escort services, residential brothels, in public on city streets and in truck stops, strip clubs, hostess clubs, hotels and motels, and elsewhere.

Fulton County is working with community, state and federal partners to end the practice of sex trafficking.

Facts about Human Trafficking

What are some warning signs of Human Trafficking to look out for?

There are many risk factors and red flags that may indicate evidence of trafficking and/or exploitation. Top risk factors include youth who experience homelessness or have frequent runaway attempts, truancy, and those with incidences of drug abuse, physical abuse, or extreme violence and neglect within the home. Keep in mind that some, all, or none of these may be present and every trafficking victim is different.

Some indications that a person may be a victim of human trafficking include (especially in the case of women and children):

  • Appearing malnourished
  • Showing signs of physical injuries and abuse
  • Avoiding eye contact, social interaction, and authority figures/law enforcement
  • Seeming to adhere to scripted or rehearsed responses in social interaction
  • Lacking official identification documents
  • Appearing destitute/lacking personal possessions
  • Working excessively long hours
  • Living at place of employment
  • Checking into hotels/motels with older males, and referring to those males as boyfriend or “daddy,” which is often street slang for pimp
  • Poor physical or dental health
  • Tattoos/ branding on the neck and/or lower back
  • Untreated sexually transmitted diseases
  • Small children serving in a family restaurant
  • Security measures that appear to keep people inside an establishment - barbed wire inside of a fence, bars covering the insides of windows
  • Not allowing people to go into public alone, or speak for themselves


Overview of Posting of Model Notice: O.C.G.A. 16-5-47 requires certain businesses and venues to “post a model notice so as to enable persons who are the subject of human trafficking to obtain help and services.” The original bill that called for the posting of the National Human Trafficking Hotline was HB 141, which passed in 2013. The most recent bill that amended Code Section 16-5-47 was SB 104 in 2017.  

About the law: Effective September 15, 2013, the following businesses and other establishments shall post this notice, or a substantially similar notice, in English, Spanish, and any other language deemed appropriate by the director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, in each public restroom for the business or establishment and either in a conspicuous place near the public entrance of the business or establishment or in another conspicuous location in clear view of the public and employees where similar notices are customarily posted: at adult entertainment establishments, bars, primary airports, passenger rail or light rail stations, bus stations, truck stops, emergency rooms within general acute care hospitals, urgent care centers, farm labor contractors and day haulers, privately operated job recruitment centers, safety rest areas located along interstate highways in this state, hotels, businesses and establishments that offer massage or bodywork services by a person who is not a massage therapist, government buildings; provided, however, that in the case of leased property, this paragraph shall only apply to public restrooms that are a part of such lease for exclusive use by the government entity."

Every government entity shall, on the homepage of its website, provide an identified hyperlink to the model notice that is on the Georgia Bureau of Investigation website as provided for in subsection (c) of this Code section.

A law enforcement officer shall notify, in writing, any business or establishment that has failed to comply with this Code section that it has failed to comply with the requirements of this Code section and if it does not correct the violation within 30 days from the date of receipt of the notice. The owner of such business or establishment shall be charged with a violation of this Code section and upon conviction shall be guilty of the misdemeanor offense of failure to post the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline number and may be punished by a fine of not more than $500.00; but the provisions of Chapter 11 of Title 17 and any other provision of law to the contrary notwithstanding, the costs of such prosecution shall not be taxed nor shall any additional penalty, fee, or surcharge to a fine for such offense be assessed against an owner for conviction thereof. Upon a second or subsequent conviction, the owner shall be guilty of a high and aggravated misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $5,000.00.  The notice required by this subsection may be hand-delivered to the non-complying business or establishment or mailed to it at the address of such business or establishment.

Georgia’s Human Trafficking Law (OCGA 16-5-46, effective July 1, 2007) makes it illegal for those who “knowingly subjects or maintains another or knowingly recruits, entices, harbors, transports, provides, or obtains by any means another person for the purpose of sexual servitude.”

In 2011, HB 200 passed creating stiffer penalties:

  • Substantially increases the punishment for human trafficking from a possible one-year sentence to a minimum of ten years. If the trafficking causes a minor to commit sex acts by coercion or deception, human traffickers now face 25 years to life in prison, up from a maximum sentence of 20 years. Offenders can also be fined up to $100,000.00.
  • Takes the important step of no longer allowing the age of consent (16) or the lack of knowledge of the age of the victim to be used as a defense.
  • Broadens the definition of coercion to recognize and encompass additional ways that victims are coerced into exploitation.
  • Authorizes asset forfeiture for property derived from or used in trafficking
  • Provides training for law enforcement.
  • Increases punishments for pimping, pandering, and keeping a house of prostitution when the victim is under 16 years of age from five to twenty years to ten to thirty years.
  • Makes victims of human trafficking eligible for victim compensation for the serious mental and emotional trauma they experience.