Olens touted the unveiling of the Georgia’s Not Buying It initiative, which essentially puts the johns involved in the criminal sexual exploitation of children in the legal crosshairs. His remarks were part of a keynote speech delivered during Sandy Springs/Perimeter Chamber of Commerce’s monthly Bagels and Business breakfast meeting Monday at the Westin Atlanta Perimeter North hotel in Sandy Springs.
“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.”
The state’s campaign against child sex “buyers” will be reinforced by signage in prominent locations, including near Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. 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.
“Public perception is you’re talking about 16- and 17-year-old girls [being victimized], but the average age is 12 to 14,” Olens said. “Literally, we’re seeing an arrest or an indictment once a week in the state.”
In addition to the child sex trade, Olens also devoted a portion of his time at the podium to another issue confronting the attorney general’s office: the recent proliferation of painkiller “pill mills.” Those venues — an increasing presence at strip malls — are being targeted by law enforcement for allowing addicts and drug dealers to purchase prescriptions for opiate-based narcotics like Oxycodone.
Neighboring Florida passed a law last year requiring the pain clinics in question to be licensed and regulated by a state medical board. Since then Georgia — set to follow suit — has gone from housing 10 pain clinics to 140, according to GBI estimates, Olens said.
Olens ended his appearance Monday by fielding questions from audience members on an array of legal issues, including the longtime tri-state water wars and the ongoing wrangling over the application of the Voting Rights Act.
“We’re not the same state we were … it’s ridiculous that in 2013 we’re made to believe we’re still in the 1960s,” said Olens of the latter.