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Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ legislation offering career paths to human trafficking survivors was unanimously approved by the Atlanta City Council. The progressive legislation will help provide economic mobility and a road to self-sufficiency for young women who have experienced difficulty gaining living-wage employment due to poverty, sexual abuse and trafficking.

The newly announced initiative establishes a formal partnership between the City of Atlanta and Wellspring Living’s Women’s Academy. Women on the career track of the Women’s Academy receive 10 weeks of career training, followed by a 12-week paid apprenticeship.  When a participating woman successfully completes the apprenticeship, she will be considered for full employment, one of the final steps towards independence from a life of trafficking. Through the unanimously-approved partnership, the City of Atlanta will work with Wellspring Living to employ Wellspring Living’s Women’s Academy participants in an apprenticeship program following the completion of their career readiness training.

“During my first month as Mayor, I committed to addressing the full scope of Atlanta’s human trafficking issue, focusing on both prevention and intervention,” said Mayor Bottoms. “The City’s partnership with Wellspring Living, one of Atlanta’s foremost agencies in the fight to end human trafficking, will provide a path to financial independence to some of our city’s most vulnerable residents making them invaluable members of our City’s trained and qualified workforce. I applaud the leadership of Ouleye Warnock, Commissioner Kisha Powell, and Mary Frances Bowley, Executive Director of Wellspring Living, for their vision, leadership and collaboration toward this transformational public-nonprofit partnership.”

In January, Mayor Bottoms announced the establishment of a Senior Human Trafficking Fellow position within the City of Atlanta. In April, Ouleye Warnock was appointed to the role, tasked with developing and implementing a Citywide policy blueprint on current anti-trafficking programs, critical gaps and recommended new or strengthened policies and practices. In October, the City held its inaugural Human Trafficking Policy Roundtable, hosting more than 50 community leaders and experts to discuss new policy trends, adjustments being made to direct-services, the evolution of the healthcare delivery system, and opportunities for collaboration across the survivors’ services continuum.  The newly announced career path legislation is the most recent addition to a comprehensive suite of programs and services designed to eradicate human trafficking in the city of Atlanta.

Earlier this year, Mayor Bottoms also announced a similar workforce reentry program designed to transition formerly incarcerated men into full-time jobs within the City’s Department of Watershed Management. These second-chance programs, both in partnership with the Department of Corrections, and now with Wellspring Living’s Women’s Academy support her vision for One Atlanta, which includes a safe and welcoming city with world-class employees and residents who are equipped for success.

The legislation will go into effect immediately upon signature from the Mayor. The program pilot will run through December 31,

City Launches New Career Apprenticeship Program for Human Trafficking Survivors was originally published on atlantadailyworld.com

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