Donald Trump and sex traffickers could pose problems for Georgia officials Monday as they prepare for the National Championship football game between Alabama and Georgia, but Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms says the city is prepared.
“Nothing matters more to us than to coordinate a safe and secure event. Our message to the public is simple: enjoy the game, enjoy the city, and let us handle the details,” Bottoms said during a press conference Thursday.
Local, state, and federal law enforcement were already planning heightened security for the event when they received word Wednesday that Trump plans to attend, even though they have yet to receive details of the president’s visit, according to Fox 5 in Atlanta.
On Friday, the Department of Justice issued a news release telling those attending the game to watch out for sex traffickers who are attracted to this kind of event because of the large number of out-of-town visitors.
In addition to the new Mercedes Benz Stadium where the national championship will be decided, authorities will also have to provide security for entertainment acts who will be performing at Centennial Olympic Park, including rapper Kendrick Lamar, whose performance will be shown at halftime in the stadium.
Trump’s decision to attend poses logistical problems for officials.
The Georgia Department of Transportation issued a news release noting that freeways in the vicinity of the stadium will be closed if the president arrives by motorcade as expected.
The Secret Service will likely close streets surrounding the stadium. The increased security will also require those attending the game to go through checkpoints and long lines.
The president’s security force will not be the only federal employees working in Atlanta Monday night. In the Department of Justice news release, Byung J. Pak, U. S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, warned that sex traffickers are expected and federal agents will be on the lookout for them.
Describing the traffickers as “despicable people,” Pak said they are drawn to events like the National Championship because of the large crowds of people who are looking to have fun.
Pak asked for the public’s help in identifying the people who are being trafficked for sexual purposes and those who are responsible.
The traffickers prey on the vulnerable, Pak said, including people who are homeless, who have been abandoned, runaways, people who face addiction problems or who have suffered from physical or sexual abuse, and women and children who have been brought here from impoverished countries.
Pak encouraged those who become aware of a sex trafficking incident to contact the FBI.
Authorities are anticipating more than 100,000 people will show for the event, including many who have no chance of getting to see the football game, but who will be willing to make the drive to Atlanta because of the close proximity of the two teams playing for the title to the game site.