Our Children are Not for Sale by Andrea Putala


KENNESAW, Ga. (Oct 29, 2015) —  The 2015 Gender and Womens Studies Focus Week kicked off this morning with a meet and greet breakfast and lecture with the formidable Gwendolyn Skinner. She is the Executive Director of Devereux Georgia right here in Kennesaw. Devereux Georgia is a one hundred year old institution with campuses in several states across the country with Georgia being one of the leaders in changing how exploited children are handled. Devereux Georgia is a Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facility (PRTF) which handles some of the most complex and delicate cases of sexually exploited children. The facility offers housing, on-site education, as well as group therapy sessions. They offer even more outside of that facility as they have other group homes and their own foster program. Mrs. Skinner talked about perception and the change that is needed when viewing these children who are or come out of that lifestyle. We must change our perception of seeing them as prostitutes to victims of sexual exploitation. Perception is everything and sometimes is the key to helping these children. She gave all sorts of numbers but then she showed the story of a typical girl that comes to them and it was anything but typical. It was harrowing and heartbreaking but she gave a face to those numbers and really helped everyone understand the gravity of the situation for most of the kids who are either coerced or forced into that lifestyle. It was extremely interesting and a great way to start off the focus week and I came away with a new perception and a desire to want to help educate people on how to help these kids.