Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr, a longtime Dunwoody resident, was the keynote speaker at the Dunwoody Perimeter Chamber breakfast meeting May 9 at Flemings’ Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar. Carr explained what his office is doing to address some of Georgia’s highest profile concerns, including human trafficking and the opioid addiction crisis.

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr.

Carr has been primarily focused on human trafficking in the state, and he says the problem is much bigger than the central city and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

“Yes, Hartsfield is a big part of this, but the profile of a human trafficking buyer isn’t someone who’s coming from Europe or the West Coast,” he said. “It’s coming from the northern suburbs.”

He said the average buyer is a 38 year old married white male with two children, and the average victim is a 12 to 14 year old girl.

He also said that while his office is working to protect victims, citizens can get involved with the effort by learning what trafficking looks like. He cited multiple examples where citizens reported suspicious behavior.

“We ask law enforcement to be all things to all people,” he said. “We can help when we are trained to identify red flags and then we have the courage to notify law enforcement.”

There was extended conversation about cyber security and elder care, primarily surrounding robocalls. Carr’s office has released a guide for older adults to learn about cyber scams, but he says he’s seeing criminals taking a much more old-school approach: junk mail.

“Now it’s looking like you’re getting a census or a charity donation letter,” he said. “That’s how [the criminals] are preying on them.”

Carr said that this problem seems to never stop, citing spoofing, the dark web and technological advances as major sources for the seemingly never-ending information heist.

“The criminals are always ahead of us from a law-making perspective,” he said. “From a law enforcement perspective, the more information law enforcement can get the better we can keep up with it.”

Sue Hansen asked about the opioid crisis hitting the state as well as the increased popularity of vaping among young children. Hansen is the founder of the Mustard Tree Foundation, an organization that provides financial aid to people suffering from addiction who cannot afford rehabilitation, and she warned that she has been seeing children as young as 13 in the sobriety programs she helps fund.

Carr said he agreed that the problem starts much younger than people expect and his office was working to educate not only the students, but the adults around them.

“Prevention has got to be part of it,” he said. “We have to figure out how to get as much information to these kids as possible.”

Another major issue that Carr’s office will be involved in, and which has business ramifications, is the new “heartbeat bill” that bans abortions in fetuses with detectable cardiac activity and gives them legal personhood. The law, recently signed by Gov. Brian Kemp, has led to promises of legal challenges from such organizations as the American Civil Liberties Union.

Asked about the abortion law, Carr would only say, “It is my duty to defend the laws that are duly passed by the legislature and signed by the governor, and that’s what my office will do. That’s my job.”

–Katia Martinez