Saresa Pearce, a senior at the Golden Isles Career Academy, has been named a regional winner in a statewide Georgia Department of Education (GDOE) poster contest to promote a national hotline for reporting and preventing human sex trafficking.
Submissions for "Not in Georgia: Combating Human Sex Trafficking" were judged by a panel of state officials representing multiple areas of expertise. Two winners from each of the state's 16 Regional Education Service Agencies (RESAs) areas – one for an English poster and one for a Spanish poster – were chosen and will be printed and sent to the respective RESA for distribution to the schools in that area. The winning posters will be prominently displayed in schools within their region.
Pearce's poster was named the Spanish winner for First District RESA, which services an 18-county area in southeast Georgia. Pearce received a $100 cash prize for her work that depicts a young woman with duct tape across her mouth with "vendida" written on it, which is Spanish for "sold." Andrea Pittman, an 11th-grade student at the Golden Isles Career Academy, was the model for the poster. Pearce and Pittman created the poster in Hilton Neeld's graphic arts class at the Career Academy. The GDOE will select a state English poster winner and a state Spanish poster winner in December 2012; each will receive $250.
In its news release about the poster contest, the GDOE said that an estimated 5,000 girls a year are victims of sex trafficking in Georgia and that Atlanta is a center for this atrocity due to its international airport and sprawling landscape. The department has worked with numerous state and non-governmental organizations to host seminars to help Georgia educators and social services workers recognize key indicators of possible human sex trafficking activities, as well as sex trafficking victims.
PHOTO: (L to R) Saresa Pearce, Hilton Neeld and Andrea Pittman display the poster that was named a regional winner in a statewide poster contest to combat human sex trafficking.