Tomorrow Georgians will vote on whether or not to establish a “Safe Harbor”, a special tax penalty against convicted sex traffickers and the adult entertainment industry to provide support services for child victims of sex trafficking.
Every month in Georgia, hundreds of Georgia's children are trafficked and exploited. Cases have been reported in at least 90 counties, covering nearly 60% of the state. The average age of a child victim of sex trafficking is only 13, and they can be as young as 9. By adding the Safe Harbor fund to the state constitution, funds will be permanently protected and used solely for the purposes of providing restorative services to child victims. This ballot question was approved by 85% of the Georgia General Assembly earlier this year.
The Safe Harbor Fund could provide approximately $2 million used to provide mental health care, child care, job training, legal help, and housing to the victims. Faith-based organizations, nonprofits, and agencies that provide services to child victims of sex trafficking will be able to apply for funds. If this amendment passes, Georgia’s General Assembly and Governor will appoint a new commission to oversee and create guidelines for the distribution of funds to ensure that they are used appropriately.
Georgia voters will be asked:
A “yes” vote supports providing tax penalties against people convicted of certain sex crimes in order to allocate revenue for the Safe Harbor for Sexually Exploited Children Fund.
A “no” vote opposes providing these tax penalties against people convicted of certain sex crimes in order to allocate revenue for the Safe Harbor for Sexually Exploited Children Fund.
Amendment 2 would establish a new “Safe Harbor” for the Sexually Exploited Children Fund by:
(1) $2,500 fines imposed on people convicted of sex trafficking, or
(2) $5,000 fine or 1% of annual gross revenue on adult entertainment establishments, particularly those that serve alcohol and provide nudity-involved entertainment.
If approved, a source of funding will be established solely for services supporting victims of human trafficking.
Georgia Legislators may not divert or redirect funding for any other purposes.
Organizations supporting Amendment 2:
- Georgia Catholic Conference
- Georgia NAACP
- Partners of SafeHarborYes:
- Interfaith Children's Movement
- International Human Trafficking Institute
- Women’s Leadership Council of the United Way of Greater Atlanta
- Center for Civil and Human Rights
- CommunityBuild Ventures
- End Human Trafficking Now
- Freedom Coalition
- Georgia Cares
- Georgia Academy of Family Physicians
- Georgia Cares
- The Junior League of Atlanta
- Wellspring Living
- She is Safe
- United Way of Greater Atlanta
- Voices for Georgia's Children
- Covenant House Georgia
- Georgia Family Connection Partnership
- Outdoor Advertising Association of America
Officials Supporting Amendment 2
- Representative Stacy Abrams
- Senator Renee Unterman
- Senator Butch Miller
- Senator Judson Hill
- Senator Gloria Butler
Senator Renee Unterman stated in a press release:
Opponents are concerned that the amendment creates a punitive tax on adult entertainment establishments, which they argue do not necessarily cause sex trafficking.
There is no formal opposition to Amendment 2 at this time, but opponents to this amendment argue that adult entertainment venues are unrelated to child sex trafficking and therefore should not be penalized with an additional tax.
(As indicated by their vote against this resolution during its last reading in the Georgia General Assembly)
- Senator Bill Heath
- Senator Hunter Hill
- Senator Joshua McKoon
- Representative Stephen Allison
- Representative Timothy Barr
- Representative Michael Caldwell
- Representative David Casas
- Representative Heath Clark
- Representative David Clark
- Representative Kevin Cooke
- Representative Geoff Duncan
- Representative Dustin Hightower
- Representative LaDawn Jones
- Representative Trey Kelley
- Representative E. Culver "Rusty" Kidd
- Representative John Pezold
- Representative Regina Quick
- Representative Dale Rutledge
- Representative David Stover
- Representative Steve Tarvin
- Representative Earnest "Coach" Williams