bravesAre you a baseball fan? If so, you’ve likely heard the buzz around the Atlanta Braves. They stunned everyone when they announced on Monday morning they would be relocating from Turner Field in downtown Atlanta northwest to Cobb County, still in the metro Atlanta area. The reason for the move? Many reports say they Braves wanted a convenient location with more than a ballpark. They want to create an experience, thus providing restaurants, shopping and lodging close by as a draw to baseball fans as well as easy access to major interstates.

This announcement was a huge shock to those at Turner Field and in Fulton County; however, the announcement created quite a bit of positive buzz northwest of the city in Cobb. There are still plenty of details that need to be worked out prior to the signing of a contract, but all systems appear to be “go” at the moment.

The Atlanta Journal and Constitution reported the site the Braves are looking at has been pitched to several other developers through the years. In 2004 an impact study reported a development would bring in “$4.3 million a year in local tax revenues” so it is no wonder the Cobb County officials are excited about this pending deal.

I am excited for Cobb County and all it means for those who live there; however, because of the work I do, I have to ask a question. What steps will be taken to help prevent Cobb from becoming a cesspool of commercial sexual exploitation of children and women that tends to reside wherever major sporting events are played?

Studies indicate when there is a major sporting event taking place, the girls’ quotas double. More importantly, I’ve heard it from the girls themselves. Large sporting events or conventions bring an influx of people into a confined area. Many of them are celebrating, drinking and enjoying themselves. In the process, some choose to pay for sex, and in many cases they’re doing so with minors. This is one of the issues Cobb County needs to address from the beginning.

Have they even thought about it? More than likely not. More than likely they are hammering out the financial aspects and choosing developers to complete the project. It is up to us, you and me, to make them think about the children.

Proverbs 31:8 says,

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves.”

Children will not be involved in the discussions for this new arena. Even if they showed up the likelihood of them being heard is slim to none. Yet, the tax payers have a way of getting the attention of their elected officials. Let them know this is an issue for you. Let them know you have an expectation for them to think of every aspect of this new project, especially where it concerns your children. Go here to find out their names and how to contact them. Take the time to write them and let them know of your concerns and ask how they will address this issue and protect our women and children. Even if you don’t live in Cobb County, you can draw attention to the issue of sex trafficking and ask those in positions of power to develop an action plan.

The Cobb County Police Department will need additional training on handling sex trafficking victims and perpetrators. The public needs to know what the indicators are so they can report any suspicious activity. All reports state the new stadium would be up and running for the beginning of the 2017 baseball season. That gives officials three years to adequately train their officers and create action plans.

For those of you living in or near Cobb County, please take some time in the midst of celebrating to raise your voice for hope. There are hundreds of women and children who have been silenced and they’re depending on you.

The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for Me.'” [Matthew 25:40]