International Human Trafficking Institute Initiative Concludes with Success

Three-year campaign marshalled a coalition of businesses, government, and the public to disrupt sexual and labor exploitation across metro Atlanta 

April 18, 2022 (ATLANTA) The National Center for Civil and Human Rights (The Center) marks the end of the International Human Trafficking Institute (IHTI) with the completion of the initiative’s strategic period. IHTI was a successful three-year campaign, 2018 – 2021, to confront sexual and labor exploitation in metro Atlanta, Georgia, and beyond.  

Launched as Atlanta prepared to host the 2019 Super Bowl, IHTI successfully raised public awareness about how to disrupt systems that perpetuate trafficking and exploitation of persons for labor or sex.   

IHTI founder and lifelong civil-rights advocate, Deborah Richardson, established IHTI for The Center to raise awareness about trafficking in Atlanta just as the city would host the Super Bowl. The project finished its work in 2021 and has wrapped all outstanding projects.   

“IHTI made significant progress in addressing human trafficking in Atlanta,” said Jill Savitt, CEO of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. “Deborah and her team organized and galvanized our community to address this scourge. They created a legacy that now continues through a range of organizations and leaders.” 

Starting in 2018, IHTI convened the Metropolitan Coalition to End Human Trafficking comprised of leaders from companies, government, educational institutions, civic organizations, non-profits, and philanthropy. The coalition became a united effort that educated the public about trafficking across metro Atlanta, strengthened the safety net for children at risk of trafficking, and disrupted the “demand side” of trafficking’s business model by focusing on the purchasers of sex from minors. 

Over the course of its three years, IHTI:   

  • Developed online and in-person trainings that reached 50,000 metro Atlantans to recognize and respond to signs of trafficking 
  • Raised awareness about the business of trafficking and how interrupting “demand” can be an effective trafficking reduction strategy  
  • Galvanized college students to help dismantle sexual exploitation 

These efforts inspired significant partnerships with Atlanta-based companies, most notably Georgia-Pacific. Georgia-Pacific supported IHTI’s work throughout its strategic period with philanthropic grants, the donation of MARTA campaign advertising space during the Super Bowl and event space for community convenings, and video production services for IHTI’s resources. Georgia-Pacific’s CEO, Christian Fischer, spearheaded trainings for company employees. In recognition of the company’s leadership, The Center awarded Georgia-Pacific its 2019 Power to Inspire Award, an annual prize that recognizes individuals and organizations that promote and protect human rights and dignity.  

After leading the successful campaign, Richardson left IHTI to become executive director of the ACLU of Colorado. 

The training work of IHTI, its signature program, will continue. With the sunsetting of IHTI, its former Director of Training, DeAndre’ Marshall, launched a consultancy to continue anti-trafficking trainings for the public, with a special focus on educating children, youth, and young adults throughout Georgia. Training information can be found here and on The Center’s website.  


About the National Center for Civil and Human Rights 

The Center, founded in 2014, is a museum and human rights educational institution located in Atlanta, GA, the cradle of civil rights. We create dynamic and empathy- building experiences, teach history’s connection to the present, generate brave and difficult conversations about necessary issues, and inspire the change-maker in each of us to promote civil and human rights in our communities and the world. The Center connects the U.S. civil rights movement of the 1950’s and 1960’s to global human rights movements for the rights of people of color, women, immigrants, people with disabilities, LGBTQIA+ people, and other marginalized groups. Through our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiative, the Campaign for Equal Dignity, mission-based Institutes, expansive educational offerings, and immersive and engaging storytelling we inspire each of us to reflect and think critically, exercise empathy in action, and create positive change locally and globally. For more information about The Center, visit our website at Follow us on: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram – @ctr4chr, and LinkedIn at 



Shani Drake Duncan, Director of Marketing & Public Engagement 

[email protected] 

James Richards, Communications Consultant 

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