Georgia Council for the Arts Announces Theatre Project to Raise Awareness of Domestic Sex Trafficking

Staff Report From Georgia CEO

Thursday, December 19th, 2019

The Georgia Department of Economic Development's Georgia Council for the Arts announced the recipient of a new theatre commission, Art as Power: Theatre in Response to Georgia’s Domestic Commercial Sex Exploitation of Minors Crisis. GCA has partnered with the Georgia Attorney General’s Office, the Georgia Department of Education, Wellspring Living and Street Grace to use theatre arts as an educational vehicle for prevention of the sexual exploitation of minors. Georgia-based Out of Hand Theater has been selected to develop the script for late middle school/high school audiences.

“Education is key in the fight to end human trafficking in Georgia,” said First Lady Marty Kemp. “I am proud of our state agencies and GRACE Commission members for taking this unique approach to connect with middle and high school audiences to raise awareness about this terrible industry and prevent them from entering into toxic, harmful relationships.”

This collaborative project is rooted in GCA’s belief in the power of art as an approachable and engaging means to tackle challenging content with audiences of all ages. With funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, the partners have joined forces to offer a $10,000 contract for the creation of a script for a one-act play to raise awareness of domestic commercial sex exploitation of minors.

“GCA is overwhelmingly grateful to our partners for their work advocating for, supporting and protecting youth, and we are honored to stand in this space with them to empower Georgia’s teens in the fight against commercial domestic sex exploitation of minors,” said Karen Paty, Executive Director of Georgia Council for the Arts.

In 2018, an alarming ninety-one percent of victims of domestic sex exploitation in Georgia were still in school while they were being trafficked.

“I know first-hand that theater is powerful tool to engage young people in meaningful discussion,” said Attorney General Chris Carr. “Our office is proud to participate with Georgia Council for the Arts, the Georgia Department of Education and members of the First Lady’s GRACE Commission to champion this first-of-its-kind program which will educate our youth about the coercive and psychological manipulation that exploiters rely on to entrap their victims. It is our hope that this one act play will empower its student-audience with information and resources to avoid unhealthy relationships and potentially dangerous situations.”

The one act play will focus on bringing awareness about the coercion and psychological manipulation involved in child exploitation and will delve into the deeper questions of what danger looks like and what safety looks like. Each production of the play will be followed by a Q&A with professionals working in the field that will include information on available resources, both within the school and within the local community.