“When people hear ‘human sex trafficking’ they think Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam but they don’t think America, Atlanta, Cobb County. It’s going on right here and it’s going on more than you realize,” Susan Norris said.
“I’m just trying to sound the alarm,” said Norris, who explained that metro Atlanta is a hub for sex trafficking because of three major sports teams and a convention center.
According to the FBI and U.S. Department of Justice, the average age of a trafficked girl is between 12 to 14. “Wherever the demand is, the pimps will supply what is needed,” Norris said.
An international speaker with a Master’s of Education from UNC-Greensboro, Norris worked with a local middle school as a Fellowship of Christian Athletes leader. She attended a luncheon with the chief of FCA where she heard Mary Frances Bowley of Wellspring Living speak about their program for restoration of victims of human sex trafficking.
“It gripped at my heart,” she said.
Troubled by the issue, Norris was determined to raise awareness. For six months, she interviewed survivors, family members, detectives and even a former pimp of 30 years who turned his life around. She also contacted organizations that fight to end exploitation such as Resolution Hope and Not for Sale.
Norris tells their stories in her book.
“The momma bear in me rises up. These girls deserve to be heard but people don’t necessarily listen to someone they view as a prostitute. I see her as a victim. I’m sharing a representation of her story. That’s how I’m being a voice for hope,” she said.
“I want to sound the alarm and raise my voice for hope so that people will know this is happening so that, hopefully, it won’t to their children. My hope is that middle school and high school girls and their parents will read it,” Norris said.
Norris ministers to teens and women in the areas of purity and spiritual identity speaking on topics such as Biblical sexuality, honoring women rather than objectifying them, pornography and the integral part it plays in sex trafficking.
“I am a Christian. I believe the voice for hope for all of us is Jesus. That is my primary ministry. I work full-time for Jesus on the deferred payment plan. I don’t take a salary. Everything I make from speaking and writing goes back into the ministry,” said Norris, who spends the bulk of her time with survivors of human sex trafficking.
“I hope that one girl that reads (‘Rescuing Hope’) will learn something that will keep her safe so that she doesn’t become a victim,” Norris said.
Learn more at www.susannorris.org.