ATLANTA — Several types of criminal activity are in the crosshairs of Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr and law enforcement agencies at the state and federal levels.
Carr, speaking at Floyd Towers, made that point during Effingham Day at the Capitol on Jan. 28, six days before Super Bowl XLIII, played a few blocks from the Capitol in the Mercedes-Benz Dome.
“We are so proud that the Super Bowl is in our state,” Carr said. “You can see everything that is going on down there. It’s a great tourism event.
“Unfortunately, with it also comes human trafficking and, when talk about that in our office, we are talking about domestic minor sex trafficking. We are talking about adults selling children for sex, which cannot be tolerated.”
According to the FBI, there were 169 arrests during an 11-day investigation into human trafficking throughout metro Atlanta leading up to the Super Bowl.
“We need to continue to have great events but we’ve got to stop criminal behavior that comes along with it,” Carr said. “We are focused on that. We’ve got a program called Demand an End that is training because, at the end of the day, law enforcement does an outstanding job but we are asking law enforcement to do all things.”
Carr is working with the General Assembly and Gov. Brian Kemp to make sure prosecutors and law enforcement agencies have the “arrows and quiver they need to protect our most vulnerable children.”
“We can help,” he said. “The more eyeballs we have on a problem the better outcomes we are going to have, so we are focused on training.”
The training is centered on transportation, hospitality and healthcare workers.
“Particularly emergency rooms,” Carr said, “so that emergency room (doctors) and nurses can recognize the signs of human trafficking.”
Opioid abuse is another one of Carr’s concerns.
“Each day, four Georgians are dying of an opioid overdose,” he said. “One thousand Georgians died last year. That’s a thousand families that had to deal with this crisis, not to mention friends and coworkers.”
Carr said up to 20 percent of men and 25 percent of women no longer participating in the workforce are addicted to painkillers.
“It impacts everybody,” he said.
In response, Georgia is suing the manufacturers and distributors of opioids.
Carr said, “For the manufacturers, we said, ‘Look, for too long y’all said there are not these addictive qualities that are clearly present in these drugs, so that was a deceptive practice. As it relates to distributors, we said, ‘Look. You had an obligation to make sure that if there were suspicious orders, y’all would stop it You didn’t do it”
A statewide task force has been created to combat the problem.
Carr also said abuse of elderly and at-risk citizens is also concern in the state.
“You’ve got two different approaches to this,” Carr said. “One is you’ve got financial exploitation. That is oftentimes were somebody is a family member — ninety percent of the time — coming a crime against another family member. That goes all the way to physical and mental abuse.
“Scams are a big issue — online scams, telephone scams, door-to-door scams.”
Carr urged his audience of 100 Effingham County business and government leaders to view his office’s Consumer Protection Guide at consumer.ga.gov. He also encouraged them to visit doseofrealityga.org for information on the opioid crisis.
Lastly, Carr talked about gangs.
“There are 71,000 identifiable gang affiliates and 1,500 different groups,” he said. “It’s all about making money.”
The attorney general said local, state and federal partners have formed an anti-gang network.