The club was recently named club of the year for District 6900, and won best overall service project for its End Human Trafficking campaign.
Additionally, the club’s past president Dave McCleary was named District 6900 Rotarian of the year for his work in fighting the human trafficking problem.
“What you’re doing to help combat the human trafficking issue is huge,” Barge said at the club’s weekly meeting. “Human trafficking is a significant issue in this state whether folks want to believe it or not.”
Atlanta is said to be the economic hub of sex trafficking in this country due to its busy international airport and Barge said there are children in the school system who are victims.
Barge, who is also a gubernatorial candidate, said the issue of human trafficking is a personal one for him because he recently learned that an old friend from middle school was prostituted by a foster parent when she was 13.
This, he said, is why it’s important to train educators and counselors about the warning signs and how to spot children who may be involved in human trafficking.
He also stressed the importance of making sure students are having their needs met in addition to getting a solid education.
“When you have a classroom of students, you don’t know where they come from; you don’t know what they’re bringing into the classroom with them,” he said of the challenges teachers face. “Until we get those very basic life needs met — food, shelter, clothing, security — [students aren’t] interested in Shakespeare or calculus.”
The state department of education has been working with groups like Roswell Rotary on issues like human trafficking to meet those needs for students so they can focus on learning.