The first residential intake center for trafficked youth in the state of Georgia has opened in Paulding County.
Governor Brian Kemp, First Lady Marty Kemp, GRACE Commission members, Wellspring Living leadership, and other partners were on hand to cut the ribbon of the new facility on Feb. 18.
Called the Receiving Hope Center, the facility will take in survivors of domestic minor sex trafficking, providing them with a safe environment. Once there, they will have all their needs met and assessments completed at one location. While at this residential facility, survivors will receive medical care, academic support, therapeutic and stabilization services for up to 90 days before moving to a long-term placement, according to officials.
According to the Wellspring Living website, the Receiving Hope Center serves youth ages 12 to 17 up to 90 days. Pregnancy, medical fragility and an IQ below 70 are exclusionary criteria.
The center will also assist law enforcement and prosecutors by providing evidence needed to see justice served, stated officials.
“We were grateful to be a part of the ribbon cutting for Wellspring Living’s new Receiving Hope Center, Georgia’s first residential intake center for trafficked youth. Together we will bring an end to modern day slavery in our state,” said Gov. Kemp in a tweet.
To protect the safety of the residents, the facility's address in Paulding County is not listed.
Kemp and his wife have made human trafficking a top priority. Last year, during his first year in office, Kemp issued an executive order creating a commission of public and law enforcement officials, for-profit and non-profit organizations, health-care executives and subject matter experts to spearhead the initiative.
The GRACE Commission is co-chaired by Marty Kemp; Georgia House Speaker Pro Tempore Jan Jones, R-Milton; and Vic Reynolds, director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
Kemp also launched a website earlier this year aimed at training state workers and the general public in how to detect and respond to warning signs of human trafficking.
There are an estimated 1.5 million victims of human trafficking in the United States. The FBI recently named Atlanta as one of 14 cities with abnormally high rates of human trafficking. For more information, visit www.doas.ga.gov.
Dave Williams contributed to this article.