Mercer University to Observe Human Sex Trafficking Awareness and Prevention Week on Atlanta Campus


Events Include Appearance by Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens, Prayer Service at Ebenezer Baptist Church

ATLANTA – Mercer University will observe Human Sex Trafficking Awareness and Prevention Week on the Cecil B. Day Graduate and Professional Campus Jan. 11-16.

Among nine different events scheduled to take place throughout the week, Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens will offer introductory remarks during the Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking (DMST) Law Enforcement Training session on Jan. 14, 1-3 p.m., in the Atlanta Administration and Conference Center (AACC) Auditorium. There will also be a community mass prayer on Jan. 15, 7:30-8:30 p.m., at Ebenezer Baptist Church.

Mercer's initiative is part of the larger national observance of January as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.

The University's Human Sex Trafficking Awareness and Prevention Program (HSTAPP), formed by students in Mercer's Penfield College earlier this year, organized the events, which are sponsored by grassroots advocacy organization Interfaith Children's Movement, the Center for the Study of Narrative, youth development program Moving in the Spirit and the University's chapter of Chi Sigma Iota, the international honor society for students, professional counselors and counselor educators. Dr. Kenyon Knapp, assistant coordinator of the doctoral counseling program and associate professor of counseling, and Dr. David Lane, professor of counseling and human sciences, are faculty sponsors of the initiative.

“Dr. Lane and I are honored to serve as faculty sponsors of the Sex Trafficking Awareness and Prevention Week,” said Dr. Knapp. “I have come to see this as one of the great evils of our time and feel compelled to do my part to help end this abusive crime. Additionally, we want to provide training for those who come into contact with the victims so that the victims can be validated, protected and restored as much as possible.”

The week begins on Jan. 11 with a movie night featuring three films, each followed by a 15-minute roundtable discussion, 3-9 p.m., in Day Hall. A month-long exhibition providing information about sex trafficking will open at Swilley Library on Jan. 12. Moving in the Spirit invites students, faculty and staff to stop by Sheffield Center on Jan. 13 at 7 p.m. to learn the choreography for One Billion Rising's “Break the Chain” dance, which will be performed at the Benefits and Honors Banquet on Friday. The DMST Law Enforcement Training will include introductory remarks by Olens and a presentation by Camila Wright, Georgia's statewide prosecutor for human trafficking, on Jan. 14, 1-3 p.m., in the AACC Chapel. The event, open to students as well as community members who have an interest in public health and safety, will provide information on how the law serves to protect victims of the sex trafficking trade. A second movie night will be held on Jan. 14, 3-9 p.m., in Wooten Auditorium with two more films, each followed by a 15-minute roundtable discussion. A “Lunch and Learn” with social justice advocate and musician Yewande Austin will take place on Jan. 15, 12-1:30 p.m., in the Trustees Dining Room. A free lunch will be provided to the first 50 students in attendance. A community mass prayer at Ebenezer Baptist Church, 407 Auburn Ave. NE, will be held on Jan. 15, 7:30-8:30 p.m. A DMST conference, which includes two training sessions, will take place on Jan. 16, beginning at 9 a.m. The first training, “Stewards of Children,” presented by the Georgia Center for Child Advocacy, takes place from 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. in the AACC. The second training, “Best Practices on DMST Training for Clinicians,” takes place from 1:30-4 p.m. in the AACC. Admission is $15 for each training session or $25 for both. The week concludes with the Benefits and Honors Banquet on Jan. 16 at 6:30 p.m. in the AACC second-floor atrium. The evening includes dinner, several presentations and performances and the announcement of the winner of HSTAPP's inaugural Student Research Writing Competition. Tickets are $30 each.

For more information on Human Sex Trafficking Awareness and Prevention Week, click here. For questions, or to register for individual events, email

About Penfield College of Mercer University

Penfield College of Mercer University, established as the College of Continuing and Professional Studies in 2003, is committed to serving non-traditional learners and currently enrolls more than 1,300 students. Undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs are offered to working adult learners seeking professional advancement into leadership roles in and beyond their communities. Educational programs provide students with distinctive, multidisciplinary programs that integrate theory and practice. The College offers general education and elective courses for various colleges and schools at Mercer. Another initiative called the Bridge program transitions students enrolled in Mercer's English Language Institute and other international students to undergraduate programs throughout the University. Areas of study include organizational leadership, counseling, school counseling, human services, human resources, informatics, public safety leadership, nursing preparation, liberal studies, psychology and communication. Programs are offered on Mercer's campuses in Atlanta and Macon, as well as multiple regional academic centers in Douglas County, Henry County, Newnan and Eastman, and online. To learn more, visit