Community Impact

Governor and First Lady Kemp applaud CareSource for supporting human trafficking prevention in Georgia

April 19th, 2023 | 4 min read

Governor Kemp and Jason Bearden

Governor Brian Kemp and First Lady Marty Kemp led a human trafficking roundtable discussion among the state’s top advocates in the nonprofit, law enforcement and health care industries. The Governor and First lady applauded the partnership between Rescuing Hope and the Georgia Sheriffs’ Association, who vowed to collaborate to protect the state’s most vulnerable children from falling prey to traffickers, as well as to further programming dedicated to recovery efforts for survivors. CareSource, a mission-driven Medicaid plan serving more than 500,000 Georgians, announced a $100,000 donation to Rescuing Hope and a $50,000 donation to the Sheriffs’ Association to support their prevention and recovery efforts.

“We are the voice for so many people that have been in the trenches on this issue. It’s been an honor, albeit a hard one, to let our community know the cold hard truth about how brutal this crime is and how evil these people are. Victims of this crime – many of whom are children – need our help,” said Governor Kemp. “I can’t thank the CareSource team enough for setting a high bar for other industries to follow -- so that organizations like Rescuing Hope and the Georgia Sheriff’s Association can continue their commitment on the ground.”

The roundtable addressed the prevalence of human trafficking and what can be done to prevent it, rescue victims and support survivors.  

Susan Norris First Lady Marty Kemp

Susan Norris, founder/executive director of Rescuing Hope, and First Lady Marty Kemp.

“We created the GRACE Commission in 2019 to shine a light on the evil industry of human trafficking in Georgia,“ said First Lady Kemp. “I want to thank Rescuing Hope, the Georgia Sheriffs’ Association and CareSource for coming together with team work that matters and putting a dent in human trafficking. This announcement will change lives.” The First Lady is cochair of the GRACE Commission and an outspoken advocate for combating the threat of human trafficking in Georgia. Under her leadership, the GRACE Commission is committed to tackling human trafficking, seeking justice for victims and holding bad actors accountable.

Since 2007, the national human trafficking hotline has identified 11,038 victims in Georgia, which has the 7th highest human trafficking rates in the nation.  In fact, the Federal Bureau of Investigation recently named Atlanta as one of the top 14 cities with abnormally high rates of human trafficking.

Susan Norris, founder/executive director of Rescuing Hope, shared both hard-hitting facts about the impact of human trafficking in Georgia, as well as heart-breaking stories of the trauma it causes individuals, mostly innocent children.

“With the donation we received from CareSource, we will be able to expand mental health care services, rescue efforts and protective housing for survivors in our area,” said Norris.  “We look forward to introducing our preventative workshops to the youth that the Georgia Sheriff’s Association serves as well.”

As part of this newly formed partnership funded by CareSource, experts and counselors from Rescuing Hope will train rescue responders on how to best approach trafficking victims as well as customize programming for the five Georgia Sheriff’s Youth Homes across the state.  At-risk youth will learn tactics, preventative measures and protection resources in order to not fall prey to human trafficking predators.

“Our youth homes give our state’s most at-risk children the love, safety and stability needed to become mature, successful adults,” said J. Terry Norris, executive director of the Georgia Sheriffs’ Association.  “Now, thanks to CareSource and Rescuing Hope, we can offer them knowledge and awareness that can help prepare them from being victimized again.”

“CareSource is committed to the whole health of our community,” said Jason Bearden, president of CareSource Georgia.  “Protecting the youth of our state from physical and mental health threats caused by human trafficking is inherent to our mission.  We have a collective responsibility to ensure that the children in our state have the opportunity to live their best and healthiest lives.”