GEORGIA CENTER FOR CHILD ADVOCACY MARKS CHILD ABUSE PREVENTION MONTH WITH 14th ANNUAL CHANGE MAKERS BREAKFAST ON APRIL 18
Keynote Speaker is Former Emory University Student and Sex Trafficking Survivor
The Georgia Center for Child Advocacy (GCCA) hosted its 14th annual Change Makers Breakfast to raise awareness and funds to help prevent child sexual and physical abuse in our state. Approximately 300 business and civic leaders were in attendance at this event to hear keynote speaker Rachel Thomas, a former Emory University student and sex trafficking survivor.
Former music video model and sex trafficking survivor Rachel Thomas educated and challenged the audience to fight against the increasing danger of domestic sex trafficking and think critically about the media’s damaging messages. She discusses being born into a good family with a normal upbringing and attending one of the nation's top universities, reminding us that there is no single profile for trafficking victims. Her story brought tears to the entire room as she recalls being naive, being manipulated into sex trafficking, the fear of telling her parents what had happened to her and the thoughts of her wanting to take her own life. She is a testament of survivors across the nation. She left the audience in shock when revealing that her sex trafficker will be released this month, after serving his 15 years sentence. There was a call to action for us to do more, make a difference, and stand against these injustices in order to protect the children in our community.
Georgia is ranked the sixth worst state for human trafficking. Atlanta is one of the largest hubs for trafficking in the country and currently has the highest number of trafficked Hispanic females and one of the highest number of trafficked children in the United States.
Also during the event, Dalia Racine was awarded the 2019 Nancy Chandler Child Advocate of the Year honor for her 15-year partnership with the GCCA. “Each year, we recognize an outstanding individual who has made significant contributions to championing the needs of children who have been sexually or physically abused,” said Sheila Ryan, CEO of the Georgia Center for Child Advocacy. “It is our privilege to honor Dalia Racine this year. Her zealous advocacy for victims, her success in holding offenders accountable and her amazing spirit is felt by all who have had the privilege to work with her.”
Marking its 32nd anniversary this year, the mission of the GCCA is to champion the needs of sexually and severely physically abused children through prevention, intervention, therapy and collaboration. Since 1987, the Center has served more than 17,000 children in Fulton and DeKalb counties who have been sexually or physically abused or have witnessed violence. These services are provided at no cost to the families. For more information, visit www.georgiacenterforchildadvocacy.org.
See more pictures of the Breakfast here.