Human trafficking is ranked number two in Augusta.
Hephzibah high school welcomed guest speakers to talk about the dangers make kids aware of how common it is.
Investigator Terry Gore with the Richmond County’s Sheriff’s Office says that makes up about half of it’s cases in Georgia right here in our town.
“The children are at risk here, and I’ve had some that do not live, and that’s my goal to make sure all my kids are safe,” says Investigator Gore.
And part of that includes talking to the kids themselves…
Hephizbah High School is making their students aware of human trafficking. They had an assembly. It was mandatory.
Assistant Principal of Hephzibah High School, Tabatha Gordon, “Knowledge is power. I think our students need to be informed and so that if they do see something or hear something that’s not right, they can report that to an adult.”
“We are ranked number two in Georgia of human trafficking. Now what that means is more than half of child human trafficking in Georgia is coming from Augusta,” says Investigator Gore.
He warns kids to know who they’re talking to online. He says technology has opened up more access for these predators.
“A lot of my predators are targeting these children on these apps, pretending that they are the same age and that they go to the same school,” says Investigator Gore.
Cyber safety goes beyond human trafficking. It can also be a personal risk, like sending naked photos. Once it hits the internet these apps can flag your photo…
“They will automatically flag that picture, send it to ICAC-Internet Crimes Against Children for Georgia,” says Investigator Gore.
…And other agencies who see child pornography, they filter it to investigators like Investigator Gore.
“And I have to go find you, and then I show the picture to you and your family and make sure that’s you and we have a talk about that,” says Investigator Gore.
“We do speak with the students about how dangerous technology can be,” says Assistant Principal Gordon.
If you feel you are at risk or know someone who is, here is a list of contacts to reach out to for help:
-Rape Crisis and Sexual Assault Services:
(706) 724-5200 (24-hour hotline)
1-800-656-HOPE (24-hour hotline)
-National Sexual Violence Resource Center
-Crisis Text Line
Text HOME to 741741
-Georgia Crisis and Access Line (GCAL)
1-800-715-4225 (24-hour hotline)