The U.S. Department of Justice estimates that over 18,000 people are forced into commercial sexual exploitation and labor servitude in the United States each year.1 In response to these growing numbers, following the lead of state legislators in California, Virginia and Texas, Georgia has been the most recent state to require certain business establishments to post notices with information to contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline.
Effective September 15, 2013, certain businesses and establishments--including bars, hotels, and businesses offering massage services by a person who is not a massage therapist--must comply with the human trafficking notification requirement under OCGA 16-5-47.
What Information is Required to be Posted?
The notice must be at least 8.5 inches by 11 inches in size, printed in a 15 point font in both English and Spanish. All notices must include the following information:
"Are you or someone you know being sold for sex or made/forced to work for little or no pay and cannot leave?
Call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-7888 for help.
All victims of slavery and human trafficking have rights and are protected by international federal, and state law.
The hotline is:
- Anonymous and confidential;
- Available 24 hours a day, seven days a week;
- Able to provide help, referral to services, training, and general information;
- Accessible in 170 languages;
- Operated by a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization; and
- Toll free."
A sample notice in compliance with OCGA 16-5-47 is available for download on the GBI's website.
Where Must the Human Trafficking Notice be Posted?
The human trafficking notice must be posted in each public restroom for the business or establishment, as well as in a conspicuous place near the entrance or in another location in clear view of the public and employees where similar notices are customarily posted.
What are the Penalties for Failing to Comply?
Businesses will be issued a written notification by a law enforcement officer that it has failed to comply with the Code requirements. If the business does not correct the violation within 30 days from receipt of the notice, the owner of the business may be liable for fines as well as criminal penalties.
On the first violation, the business owner may be convicted of a misdemeanor offense, and may be punished by a fine of up to $500.00.
Upon a second or subsequent conviction, the business owner will be found guilty of a high and aggravated misdemeanor, and may be punished with a fine of up to $5,000.00.