#sextrafficking | Local mothers hold rally in downtown Cumming to bring further attention to human trafficking in Georgia | #tinder | #pof | #match

A small crowd of approximately 20 protesters gathered on the sidewalk in front of the Forsyth County Courthouse in downtown Cumming this past weekend with signs calling for community members to “protect our children” and “be their voice,” referring to continuing issues with human trafficking in Georgia. 

A group of three mothers in the county organized the rally on Saturday, Aug. 22, because they said, being parents themselves, they wanted to remind those in the community about the dangers of human trafficking and teach parents and young kids how they can look out for those dangers. 

One of the mothers, who asked not to be named, said worries surrounding the issues have been top of mind for her and other parents of young girls in recent weeks, especially after recent news broke of a Cumming resident’s arrest on child molestation charges. She said that she feels many in the community do not realize that child sex trafficking can happen “right in our backyard.” 

Metro Atlanta officials have made an effort to highlight human trafficking issues in recent years as, in 2018, the National Human Trafficking Hotline ranked Georgia as the fourth-highest state in labor trafficking victims and, in 2005, the FBI ranked Atlanta as one of 14 cities with the highest number of sexually trafficked children. 

Siara Pope, who created the online group to bring further awareness to human trafficking with the Forsyth community, holds up a sign at the rally on Saturday.
– photo by Sabrina Kerns

“How do we teach our kids who they can trust?” she said. “It’s important for them to recognize the signs of [child] grooming and to know that this does happen. As scary as it is, they need to know about it.” 

She, along with organizers Tia Day and Siara Pope, decided to hold a rally together to bring further attention to the issue, and they shared a digital flier on local group pages on Facebook to get the word out.  

Organizers started to worry, however, when others commenting on their Facebook posts started to question if they were connected to QAnon, a political conspiracy theory. Followers of QAnon claim that members of the Democratic political party, along with celebrities, are working against President Donald Trump and running an international sex trafficking ring. Similar protests were held across the U.S. this past weekend where many reported strong numbers of QAnon supporters showing up to promote the conspiracy theory through the guise of protesting against child sex trafficking. 

Most of those rallying in downtown Cumming on Saturday, however, seemed to want to distance themselves from the conspiracy theory and its followers. 

“I don’t want us to be affiliated with any political party or any conspiracy theory group,” Pope said. “All of our information that we’re sharing, it has to be factual. Because that’s the only way that we are actually doing any good.” 




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