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Activist fights human trafficking
by Bobby Tedder
btedder@neighbornewspapers.com
June 26, 2013 01:12 PM | 1615 views | 0 0 comments | 45 45 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Sarah Symons
Sarah Symons
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As human trafficking wends its way through Atlanta’s inner-city elements and suburbs, Sarah Symons continues to be the driving force behind a movement aimed at curing the social ill.

The recording artist and author is set to bring her brand of activism to these parts in the coming weeks.

“In addition to [media obligations], I look forward to meeting with anyone who wants to meet with me,” said Symons, a St. Augustine, Fla., resident.

The married mother of two is the founder of the international nonprofit Made By Survivors, which she is expanding into Georgia. The entity empowers survivors of slavery and other human rights abuses through a combination of education and employment, including the artisanship of jewelry design and metalsmithing.

Made By Survivors’ namesakes have emerged from past lives marred by abductions, child labor slavery, child marriages, forced prostitution and “horrific” acts of violence on women.

Symons recounts her journey and the uplifting stories of some of the survivors in Made By Survivors programs in her recently penned memoir, “This is no ordinary joy.”

“Our survivors are some of the most inspiring people you could ever wish to meet,” said Symons. “They take whatever help we give them and multiply it, transforming their lives, families and communities.”

Made By… has attracted hundreds of volunteers and celebrity involvement since its inception.

“I think people are getting involved because the cause is so compelling,” said Symons. “Like me, a lot of them are overwhelmed when they initially find out about it, but, once you show them what impact they can have and that there is hope in the situation they’re excited to help.”

In a move to remedy similar issues here, Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens said authorities will be casting a bigger net as part of the state’s crackdown on sex trafficking of minors.

Olens’ office recently unveiled the Georgia’s Not Buying It initiative, which essentially puts the johns involved in the criminal sexual exploitation of children in the legal crosshairs.

“According to the [Georgia Bureau of Investigation], we’re one of the top 14 districts when it comes to this problem, and, typically, it’s suburban men who are buying these kids,” said Olens. “You can’t just go after the pimps.”

Successive pieces of legislation imposing stiffer penalties for perpetrators and mandatory training for law enforcement officers are yielding results, the state’s top lawyer noted.

“Literally, we’re seeing an arrest or an indictment once a week in the state,” Olens said.
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