COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Although it may seem invisible on so many faces, hundreds of people in our own backyard are suffering as victims of human sex trafficking.
January is Human Sex Trafficking Awareness Month and, oftentimes, victims are left with brandings, markings, or tattoo symbols on their bodies from their abusers to represent ownership.
In Columbus, they have teamed up with Above All Tattoos on Victory Dr. to help survivors in our community put the past behind them.
Jessica Lamb is the founder of Atlanta Redemption Ink who was a teenage runaway and suffered years of sexual abuse.
“I ended up looking for a job in a paper and in that paper I saw where it was asking for free room and board and so I thought, ‘Hey, I can work this call center and work and have a place to stay,’" said Lamb, "And so at sixteen, being naive not knowing better, I thought it sounded like a great idea, so I ended up getting lured in during that job interview.”
George Ferguson is one of the tattoo artists working with the non-profit.
When he is not working with victims, he continues his passion for tattooing in the Fountain City.
“When they come in, they are pretty shy, some of them, I don’t wanna say seem ashamed to talk about the tattoo, but you can tell they are very reluctant to talk about it and then when they get it done and see it in the mirror they realize that part of their life is gone forever you definitely see a different reaction out of them when they walk out of the door,” said Ferguson.
Lamb’s goal through her story is to serve as a symbol of hope and healing and represent a positive future for survivors.