Street Grace was established in 2009 after a group of eight churches developed a strategic plan to end domestic minor sex trafficking in Atlanta, Ga. The need to combat sex trafficking may have come as a shock to many Atlantans, but not to the folks at Street Grace, who were familiar with the Georgia statistics issued by the Governor’s Office of Children and Families: Every month, 200-500 girls are commercially exploited for sex in Georgia.
Aaronde Creighton, who sits on the board of directors for Street Grace, believes the term “trafficking” is too polite for what he calls the rape of children for profit. “Trafficking is slavery,” he says. “I think that we have come to a point in society where we don’t like to use the term slavery because of past connotations, so we’ve come up with this nice term called trafficking. Unfortunately, the reality is that it is one in the same.”
The strength of Street Grace is that instead of trying to solve the problem single-handedly, they mobilize community resources and reach out to public, private, nonprofit, and faith-based partners to amplify results that will bring an end to human trafficking in Atlanta, and initially, the United States and the world.
In 2013, Creighton moderated a discussion on human trafficking at an international human rights conference sponsored by The Carter Center, which is also based in Atlanta. He believes the opportunity to share information and experiences with scholars, activists, and religious leaders from around the world gave him a new perspective on modern-day slavery: “While the issues of domestic minor sex trafficking are very different from what you see in Southeast Asia or Eastern Europe, there are some things that are being done in these places that we can learn from and adopt here within Atlanta, within the United States.”
What can other organizations learn from Street Grace? Creighton says Street Grace is an open book, without territorial boundaries, and with one aim. “Our goal is to see an end to commercial sexual exploitation of children,” he says. “And if that means getting another 500 organizations and five million people involved, then by all means we plan to do that.”