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Georgia Power volunteers help to build safe space for human trafficking survivors in Metro Savannah-area

November 21, 2023

Despite its charm as a beloved tourist destination, Chatham County, home of Historic Savannah, Georgia, is not immune from the dangers brought by the human trafficking of minors. A group of Georgia Power employees has decided to volunteer their time to help survivors get the help that they need.

“Georgia Power is a critical partner. Not only have they contributed financially, but they’ve also provided a lot of volunteer support as well,” Julie Wade, founder of Tharros Place, said. “The topic of human trafficking is dark, but this project has brought together communities to find a safe space for these young girls. We couldn’t have done this without our partners.”

Tharros Place is a South Georgia-based, non-profit organization where survivors of human trafficking, young ladies between the ages of 12 and 17, can go to rehabilitate their lives and have a safe space to live with the resources they need. Through grants, internal fundraising, legacy projects, and hands-on volunteer support, the brand-new brick-and-mortar building will be ready to open its doors by the end of the year.

The nearly 30-person volunteer group, who largely work at local power plants, is led by Justine Keller, an engineer at the Savannah Transmission Center and Lonnie Shaw, team leader at Plant McIntosh in Rincon, Ga. They have spent time painting, trimming, assembling furniture, and building the kitchen for the facility over the past few months.

“Our group is dedicated to improving the lives of these young women at Tharros Place,” said  Keller, who is also President of the Savannah Citizens Chapter. “Human trafficking is something that we can all educate ourselves on, no matter where we’re from or what we do.”

In collaboration with several other sponsors including Gulfstream, Delta, Savannah College of Art and Design, WIlliams-Sonoma, and CVS, Georgia Power will continue to support Tharros Place after welcoming the first group of residents at the end of the year.

“Our Georgia Power team stands by our motto, being A Citizen Wherever We Serve.”  added Shaw, President of the Savannah Generation Citizens Chapter.  “We enjoy providing helpful services to Tharros Place, so they can continue to assist the victims of human trafficking.”

Georgians interested in learning about human trafficking resources can visit the Office of the Attorney General’s website.