“It’s already a very busy time. So it’s kind of easy to fall under the radar,” says Jaime Bierwagen, Volunteer with Praying Pelicans.
The Masters brings in thousands of tourists from across the world for the biggest golf tournament. It’s also the second biggest sporting event in human trafficking behind the Super Bowl.
Global sporting events have often lured traffickers to force what can be called “modern day slavery” on women, children and even men.
Local organizations like the praying pelicans and I’m aware are partnering together to raise awareness of human sex trafficking to prevent and limit people becoming victims.
“I don’t know if people recognize the Master’s as having this dark underbelly of people being trafficked,” says Kira Leefers, Praying Pelicans Volunteer. “The greenery, the flowers, like everything’s so beautiful on the surface. And underground there’s all this dark stuff going on.”
The Praying Pelicans passed out flowers with a hotline for people to call if they notice trafficking. It also helps victims get the resources they need. The public received flyers too, informing them of suspicious signs and places human trafficking can occur.
“Multiple females with one maybe older male,” says Jaime Bierwagen, Volunteer with Praying Pelicans. “They’re not making eye contact. sometimes they have unique tattoos.”
“Tattoo parlors, strip clubs, hotels, or anything like that like restaurants,” says Paul Kawashri, Praying Pelicans Volunteer.
The Praying Pelicans’ main goal was to inform young women and their parents that human trafficking breaks a Georgia law. The group posted House Bill 141, which addresses kidnapping, false imprisonment and other related offenses, in various establishments so victims can immediately seek help.
“They require by law to have this information posted, so people are aware,” says Kira Leefers. “There’s not one state that’s immune to human trafficking. So I think having this bill passed here in Georgia. Is really going to help bring awareness and stop this.”