By Andrea Hammond
Atlanta is ranked as one of the top cities for human trafficking and prostitution, with 300-500 girls trafficked through the city each month, but a weekly event called Princess Night is working to help rescue these women.
Princess Night began in 2005 and is part of the Atlanta Dream Center, a non-profit organization in downtown Atlanta. It’s based on Isaiah 61:3 and works to rescue women out of prostitution and human trafficking. Every Friday night a team goes into an area of Atlanta that is known to have a high level of prostitution and begins to talk and form relationships with the women.
“The mission of the team is simple, it’s to build a trusting relationship with these girls and to offer them an opportunity of freedom and to restore their lives,” said Sara Wilson, the Fund-raising Coordinator for Princess Night.
Preparing for the next step
Once a girl decides to come off the streets, she enters into a program called the Solomon House, which is a 21 day rehabilitation program.
“The purpose of this program is to begin to put structure back into the girls’ lives in order to help them have a higher success rate at the next rehabilitation program they will go to,” said Wilson.
When the initial program is completed the women can choose what program they will enter next, such as counseling or drug rehab. When this secondary program is finished each woman receives a life partner from one of the programs.
“The life partner’s responsibility is to support the girl and help hold her accountable in hopes she doesn’t return to the life of prostitution,” said Wilson.
Teams that go out into the city are usually made up of around 12 people. The team consists of mostly women who will be talking with the women on the street, but men accompany the team for safety reasons.
“Typically, the team will subdivide into 3 smaller groups and will go and talk with one of the girls on the street, offering prayer, or an ear to listen, whatever she needs,” said Lara Dotson, a volunteer with Princess Night.
Before leaving, the team leaves the girl with a card. The card has an encouraging message on it reminding the girl how much she is valued and loved by God. She is also given a rose and a small card with the phone number to the Princess Night hotline should she decide later that she wants help.
The funding comes from fundraising parties, called Princess Parties. At these parties people can by T-shirts, jewelry, and make donations all of which go to Princess Night. Fundraising is also from people giving donations. It costs approximately $1800 dollars to rescue one girl.