Film Targets Child Sex Trafficking in Georgia

By: JULIA HARDING/myfoxatlanta

ATLANTA – Law enforcement agencies indicate child sex trafficking is big business in Atlanta and a local filmmaker is trying to do something to stop it.

Recent numbers show more than 400 girls are sexually exploited each month in Georgia.

The film, “The Candy Shop” premiered at Atlanta’s Fox Theatre Monday night. The film shines a bright light on the problem of child trafficking in Georgia.

“The definition of lust is to turn a human being into an object and so we wanted to symbolize that in the film,” said director Brandon McCormick.

McCormick said he decided to make the film after he learned hundreds of children are trafficked each month in Georgia.

“I learned about the stats about Atlanta. I live 15 minutes north of the city and realized in my backyard up to 500 girls a month are trafficked for sex in this city,” McCormick said.

McCormick said the film is in illustration of what happens when kids are sold for sex.

“There’s a candy shop owner who has a machine in his basement. He lures children in, they go in one side of the machine and come out candy on the other side and he sells it to the men,” said Cheryl Deluca-Johnson of Street Grace, an advocacy group aimed at ending child exploitation.

“I’m the metaphor for all the pimps out there that are taking children and selling them for rape. That’s really what it is,” said actor Doug Jones.

According to recent survey, 7,200 men will buy sex with an adolescent female in a given month in Georgia and most of the men come from outside of the perimeter.

According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement young girls are targeted and lured through postings in the newspaper and flyers. ICE agents say many girls are promised modeling careers and better opportunities.

Atlanta police investigators say a lot of the sex trafficking of children occurs not just on the streets of Atlanta but on the internet and they have an entire unit dedicated to combating the problem.

“They were being kidnapped off the MARTA train when I was here, also at Underground and then they were being sold along Metropolitan Avenue,” said Assistant District Attorney David Cook.

The executive director of Street Grace said the recent studies show the demand for child trafficking in Georgia is coming, mostly from men outside the perimeter and specifically, north of the perimeter.

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