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Church to offer classes about child sex trafficking

POSTED: February 9, 2014 11:43 p.m.

The local community has become more aware of child sex trafficking, children’s advocates say. Now, the advocates hope to engage the community further.

The Corinth Baptist Church Women’s Ministry is hosting a full course of classes about domestic minor sex trafficking on Feb. 21 and 22.

“It’s a good opportunity to educate people in our community — what sex trafficking looks like and how we can be on the alert,” said Laura Haynes, a volunteer with the Gainesville church.

Street Grace, a faith-based organization with the goal of ending domestic minor sex trafficking in metro Atlanta and throughout the U.S., will teach the courses, Haynes said.

Coverage of the issue has enhanced awareness of a matter that children’s advocates say hits closer to home than people realize.

“It’s been in the news lately,” Haynes said. “People were thinking it was a problem happening in India, across the world. They weren’t really thinking it was happening here, or even thinking it was happening in Atlanta but not here.”

“As the topic has gotten more press, people are realizing this is happening right here.”

District Attorney Lee Darragh said in the spring that two cases were pending in Hall County where the Georgia statute for human trafficking is likely to be charged.

In July, Maria Vasquez-Quiroz was charged under the trafficking statute in connection with crimes involving a 4-year-old girl.

Last week, a grand jury added several charges in the case against Vasquez-Quiroz and co-defendants Digno De Jesus Mejia and Junior Alexander Delcid-Leon.

Street Grace will offer one course that teaches the essentials on domestic minor sex trafficking, Haynes said, as well as continuing education modules for people who have already completed the basics.

“I think people have different goals. Obviously some people will be there for the continued education credit, but I think there are some people who just want to learn about the topic,” Haynes said.

The essentials class covers elements of the industry, myths and stereotypes about victims, and language and sensitivity training.

The courses are open to the public, including those who are not church members; however preregistration is required, she said.

Children under the age of 18 cannot attend due to the maturity of subject matter, Haynes said. The deadline to RSVP is Friday.


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