What is the Safe Harbor Amendment and and why should I vote yes on Amendment 2?

What is Safe Harbor Yes?

Safe Harbor Yes is a non-partisan campaign focused on passing amendment 2 to create the Safe Harbor for Sexually Exploited Children Fund, which will be on the general election ballot on November 8, 2016. If approved, this will be a new, dedicated source of funding for the intensive restorative services needed to help child victims of sex trafficking return to a normal life.

Is child sex trafficking really a significant problem in our state?

Yes. Every year in Georgia, Hundreds of Georgia’s children become victims of child trafficking. They come from every part of our state – as many as 102 counties have referred young victims for assistance. These children are from neighborhoods like yours, from every demographic, family situation and income level. While their stories may differ, they have all been targeted, sexually abused and exploited.

How will the Safe Harbor Fund help victims of child trafficking?

The Safe Harbor Fund will provide an estimated $2 million annually for restorative services such as safe housing, trauma counseling and medical treatment. These children are often suffering from physical abuse, malnutrition, suicidal thoughts and intense shame and guilt. This fund will ensure that innocent young victims receive the help they need to rebuild their lives and reduce their chance of being victimized again.

Where will the money come from?

Funding for Safe Harbor will come from two narrowly tailored sources identified by the General Assembly: new fines for those convicted of crimes related to sex trafficking and a new fee on the adult entertainment industry, specifically on establishments that serve alcohol and provide entertainment involving nudity.

Why do we need a constitutional amendment to create the Safe Harbor Fund?

In Georgia, the only way state funds can be dedicated to a particular purpose is with voter approval of a constitutional amendment, which is what will be on the ballot on November 8. This protects the monies in the Safe Harbor fund for being used for any other purpose.

How will the funds be distributed?

Agencies, faith-based organizations and non-profits that provide services to child victims of sex trafficking will be able to apply for funds. A new commission, appointed by the General Assembly and the Governor, will develop guidelines and oversee the distribution of monies to ensure they are used where they can have the greatest impact.

What language will I see on the general election ballot?

The question that will appear on the ballot is: “Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to allow additional penalties for criminal cases in which a person is adjudged guilty of keeping a place of prostitution, pimping, pandering, pandering by compulsion, solicitation of sodomy, masturbation for hire, trafficking of persons for sexual servitude, or sexual exploitation of children and to allow assessments on adult entertainment establishments to fund the Safe Harbor for Sexually Exploited Children Fund to pay for care and rehabilitative and social services for individuals in this state who have been or may be sexually exploited.”

Like all constitutional amendments, this question will appear at the end of your ballot

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