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Suburban Horror Story: Inside the dark world of sex trafficking

Sex trafficking is happening all around us-- in plain sight. 

Beautiful houses line the streets in an upscale neighborhood outside of Atlanta. The manicured lawns and luxury cars parked in the driveways makes the affluence obvious. The closed window blinds keep what’s going on inside hidden.

You’d never guess that in one of those homes, girls were being sold for sex.

Sex trafficking is happening all around us-- in plain sight. Over the past 10 years, the National Human Trafficking Hotline has received reports of more than 22,000 sex trafficking cases just in the US. The facts are horrifying enough, but getting people to connect to the issue of sex trafficking is challenging. Advocacy groups have turned to unconventional methods to show just how close to home sex trafficking can be.

That’s exactly what the organization, Street Grace, hopes to do with their new project “Suburban Horror Story”.

The project allows visitors to get a realistic peek into the dark world of sex trafficking through an immersive theatrical experience. While the production is not real, it is based off real experiences of trafficking victims. It’s so convincing, the organization even has a therapist on standby for any visitors who need someone to talk to.

FULL INVESTIGATION: Selling Girls | Sex traffickers are targeting American children

The simulation takes place in a beautiful house in the suburbs of Atlanta. The “trafficker” looks like a normal middle-aged, white man. From the outside, everything seems ordinary; but in the basement, drugs and alcohol litter the floor as young girls are hand-picked by buyers.

The experience is disturbing, but is designed to help people identify and prevent sex trafficking when it’s happening in their own neighborhood.

The simulation ends by encouraging visitors to join the Demand an End initiative. The goal of the initiative is to get all 50 states involved and working together towards putting an end to sex trafficking.

The elaborate production, written by Edith Freni and directed by Jessica Holt, was brought to life with the help of multiple local groups including, BBDO Atlanta and Spitfire Studios, as well as various artists (See the full list here).

The “Suburban Horror House” is not currently open to the general public, but you can experience it online here and get involved through their website.

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