Haven ATL women share survival stories

By: Brad Rowland

With January serving as Human Trafficking Awareness month nationwide, Haven ATL hosted a panel discussion aimed at helping youth in the Metro Atlanta area learn from the experiences of women of color who have survived trafficking and exploitation. The five-member panel occurred on Jan. 27 under the title “Human Trafficking Awareness and Black Girl Magic – A Peer to Peer Panel Discussion,” and a variety of topics were addressed.

Subjects ranged from life lessons expressed by the panelists to stories of survival. The discussion was geared towards infusing power into the youth of today. In addition, there was a focus on healing from trauma and navigating potential pitfalls in the community.

Seventy-seven percent of victims in alleged human trafficking incidents reported in the United States were people of color, according to a Bureau of Justice Statistics report. The Black Girl Magic Peer to Peer panel was shaped through the prism of that overwhelming reality. Haven ATL was created to serve women who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation in the Metro Atlanta area, through prevention, education, case management and outreach.

“This was a great event and was the start of many more peer to peer panel discussions,” said Melba Robinson, program director. “It helped our local female youth to hear from powerful survivors who have survived their trafficking and/or exploitation through their ‘Black Girl Magic.’”

With a focus on awareness and outreach, the event’s mission to educate and empower young women in the community was well received and there are plans in place to continue developing relationships and establishing future panels.