ATLANTA, GA — Two Atlanta-based organizations, Street Grace and Georgia Cares, said they will merge to double down on efforts aimed at fighting the commercial exploitation of children in Georgia, according to a press release. Services previously offered by Georgia Cares will continue to be provided through Street Grace.
Street Grace is a faith-based organization with the mission to end Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children throughout the U.S., the release said, and Georgia Cares is a nonprofit working to serve child sex trafficking victims across Georgia.
“This merger will create the leading organization in the state with the most knowledge team of experts at the helm of their child advocacy efforts to both support victims of CSEC and demand an end to the horrific and illegal sex industry,” said Millard Choate, chairman of the board for Street Grace and CEO of Choate Construction Company, on Wednesday.
Street Grace was founded in 2009 by leaders of Atlanta’s faith community in response to the rising presence of CSEC in the city, according to the release. Since then, the organization has grown its network to more than 100 churches, 75 community partners and more than 2,500 volunteers with an expanded presence in Texas, Tennessee and California.
“We are constantly striving to broaden our impact and create efficiencies that allow us to put the most resources towards those whom we serve,” Street Grace CEO Bob Rodgers said in the release. “Over the past decade, Street Grace has expanded our presence significantly, and we actively continue mobilizing community involvement to fight CSEC and drive awareness through training, providing resources and education, particularly about the demand.”
Georgia Cares was created as an initiative of the Governor’s Office for Children and Families in 2009 as well, according to the press release. In 2013, Georgia Cares became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit entity in an effort to grow in their capacity to serve victims through a public-private partnership and serve child sex trafficking victims across Georgia.
“Our direct support and care to young survivors will continue, in the most cost-effective way, with more dollars going toward programming to positively impact children,” said Thomas Stewart, chairman of the board for Georgia Cares, in the release. “Our statewide, 24-hour hotline 1-844-8GA-DMST (3678) will continue to provide support.”
All previous assets, resources and donations to Georgia Cares will continue to support victims of CSEC through the expanded efforts of Street Grace, the release said. The organizations have already begun a transition of care coordination.
“We believe child sex trafficking can be eradicated,” Rodgers said in the release. “Our journey to help children remains steadfast and stronger than ever. Together, with support from the community, we will continue this critical work until there is an end to CSEC.”