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A former stripper in Atlanta has dedicated her life to unveiling the ugly truth behind human trafficking and to helping rescue just some of the women and children ensnared in the so-called sex industry.
According to the website for her organization 4Sarah, Kasey McClure was just 18 when she began working as a stripper for the World Famous Gold Club, located about 40 minutes north of the Atlanta airport. Following a religious conversion at age 24 and with the help of her husband, McClure left her job to begin a new life, only to learn that there were few resources dedicated to help women like her start over.
She has since partnered with Georgia Public Service Commission Vice Chair Tim Echols, who began offering a bus tour of the seediest areas of Atlanta where sex trafficking often occurs, sometimes just a few blocks from otherwise safe streets and neighborhoods. The purpose of this “Unholy Tour” is to give local politicians, law enforcement, and residents of good will a better idea of the horrors of human trafficking.
“So many people think that [human trafficking] not our problem, but it really is,” said McClure. “It’s not getting better. It’s getting worse.”
On Thursday, McClure led another group on the Unholy Tour and gave participants a glimpse of the life of human trafficking victims in nearby Gwinnett, Fulton, and DeKalb counties.
“It’s a great way for [Unholy Tour riders] to feel the intensity and the atrociousness of what’s happening out here to women,” said Echols.
Though it is unclear when the Unholy Tours first began, there are news reports about them dating back to at least 2015. A member of the Georgia Commission on Women, Karla Jacobs, joined a tour conducted in 2016 and described the harrowing experience in graphic detail. Jacobs mentioned visiting bus stations, squalid motels, and various street corners where vulnerable women work.
According to Jacobs, police on the tour shared that pimps want their prostitutes to become pregnant both to attract johns with a pregnancy fetish and to use the child as leverage after it’s born to control the women even more forcefully.
Jacobs also mentioned that most victims were chemically dependent and some were even children with special needs since such “children make perfect victims—they are easy to control, and many do not even realize the adults are exploiting them.”
Christie Ethridge, who participated in one of the tours in 2018 as a member of the local media, claimed that even though most people know that sex trafficking exists, “[i]t just feels different when you actually see it.”
Nearly 30 teenagers were rescued from sex trafficking in the local area just last month.