A runaway teen in Georgia who makes her way to Atlanta has a day, maybe two, before someone tries to turn her into a prostitute. For many teens—without food or shelter and often already the victim of sexual abuse—selling their bodies seems like the only way to get a meal. Stopping the cycle is difficult—some 400 girls are commercially sexually exploited each month in Georgia.
Authorities say more than 20 people have been arrested on charges related to child exploitation and prostitution in an operation designed to coincide with Atlanta hosting the NCAA Final Four. FBI spokesman Stephen Emmett said a busy weekend in Atlanta increased probability of child prostitution and recovery of victims associated with it.
Each month in Georgia, experts estimate as many as 400 children are sold for sex. It happens on the street, through escort services, in hotels, and over the Internet. The U.S. Department of Justice lists Atlanta among 14 American cities where this is a problem.