You guessed it. This is one of those serious posts about something that matters very much to me. Hopefully it will matter to you, too, when you've finished reading this. I am privileged to be a part of an amazing church here in Lawrenceville. 12Stone Church, with campuses in Hamilton Mill, Flowery Branch and Lawrenceville, partners with an organization called Street Grace. Street Grace is an organization dedicated solely to stopping the sick avalanche that goes on all around us but is invisible, unless you know where to look – Child Sex Trafficking. Before you exhale with relief and think, "Thank God, I thought this was something serious that affects me," think again, because it is and it does.
The exploitation of minor children here in Georgia – specifically north of the perimeter – is rampant. About 500 children are trafficked each month in Georgia alone. These children are not throw-aways. They are not somehow less important than your children. They are OUR children. There are many reasons that these children are in the horrible circumstances in which they find themselves, none of which is a child's fault. The problem of child sex trafficking has many angles, and every angle must be addressed for the entire epidemic to be stopped. There are children who have fallen through the protective nets that we all assume are there for our young. There are children who have run away from home, from abuse, from neglect. There are people who are waiting for them with open arms, with praise and acceptance, with drugs, with a safe place to stay – temporarily. There are men who rip these children from the arms of innocence for their own depraved pleasure and twisted tastes. A child can not possibly stand up to such evil alone.
I want you to visit two websites – www.stopthecandyshop.org, and www.streetgrace.org – to learn more about this insidious underworld that seethes all around us, right here in Gwinnett County and all over Georgia. Then figure out how you can be a voice, or a hand, for these children who so desperately need one. Also be sure to read about the movie "The Candy Shop," starring Doug Jones, that recently premiered at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta a couple of weeks ago.
Think about these children when you tuck yours safely into bed tonight. They need us.