Anti-sex trafficking awareness group educates community on how to prevent sex trade

Katelyn Armstrong, Staff Writer

Educating the community about sex trafficking in Middle Georgia was the main focus for Decoding Freedom’s event “Shine out Sex Trafficking.”

The event took place in Tattnall Square Park April 7 and the goal was to educate community members on how to get involved in ending sex trafficking in the local area, as well as show attendees how to be a part of the solution.

Jeff Shaw, founder and President of Out of Darkness, was the keynote speaker at the event. Out of Darkness is the anti-sex trafficking mission of the Atlanta Dream Center. Just last year, his team made 264 rescues from the Georgia streets and jails and placed women in long-term care.

The group Decoding Freedom supports the work of anti-sex trafficking missions and organizations in the Middle Georgia area by holding events and selling objects of value to those who want to support the social issue. Their projects will be sustained and carried on from year to year by senior marketing students.

Blaze Jeffery is the President of Decoding Freedom and he was in charge of MCing the event, as well as all of the press releases to the community.

“Overall I was extremely pleased with the turnout of the event,” Jeffery said. “We had 134 people say they were coming through Facebook and 136 people showed up to the event.”

There was a significant turnout from the community and an even better turn out from the student body Jeffery said.

“It was really encouraging to see the support,” Jeffery said.

Besides Decoding Freedom, there were other organizations who were able to participate in the event and the efforts against sex trafficking.

“Everyone seems excited about our efforts in the community, and they have all said that they are able to see a difference so far,” Jeffery said. “Our partner company, Traffick Jam, has been able to increase the amount of education they provide to after school programs and after the most recent event, they were able to secure two more programs that they can collaborate with.”

Cody Jones was in attendance at the event and he is the President of Traffick Jam.

“We are similar to Decoding Freedom but we do different things,” Jones said. “They sell items and raise money, which we then use to fund our work to prevent sex trafficking in Macon.”

Decoding Freedom will be having their last event of the year on April 16th. They are having a dodgeball tournament called “Dodging Traffic” and all of the proceeds will go towards ending sex trafficking in Middle Georgia.