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Our Story

The Starr Institute is rooted in our founder’s, Shavontana “Starr” Davis’, first-hand knowledge of the strength that comes from triumph over the pain of sexual abuse.  The Starr Institute was founded in Atlanta in 2017 to prevent the sexual abuse and exploitation of youth.  Starr felt called to action based on her personal experience as a child sexual abuse survivor.  The Starr Institute is Starr’s way of being to youth what her grandmother was to her, a safe haven.  Like her grandmother, Starr is committed to developing lifelong relationships with the youth The Starr Institute serves.  Starr’s story is her mother’s story too, and Ms. Sharon is one of The Starr Institute’s biggest supporters.  Starr’s triumph over sexual abuse is intertwined with her mother’s journey overcoming substance abuse. 


we are passionate about ensuring that no child suffers in silence

In 2018, Starr began speaking at several events sharing her story of triumph over childhood sexual abuse and educating the community on the sexual exploitation of minors.  The Starr Institute launched a robust awareness campaign using social media platforms to distribute posts about child sex trafficking and empowerment. The Starr Institute also hosted its first ReDiscover HER Light 5K Run+Walk in an effort to raise awareness and galvanize more communal support. At the same time, The Starr Institute strategically developed relationships with like-minded organizations such as the United Way VIP Program, the Gwinnett Coalition for Health and Human Services’ Child Sexual Assault Prevention Committee (CSAP), the Envision Project and the Georgia Statewide Human Trafficking Taskforce.


In 2019, Starr became a Center for Civic Innovation Fellow.  The Civic Innovation Fellowship is a leadership and business training program for community leaders with ideas, programs, and services that improve the lives of Atlanta residents.  It was during this fellowship that Starr’s vision for The Starr Institute was refined.  The Center for Civic Innovation is in partnership with Sara Blakely, founder and CEO of Spanx. Starr was one of the selected fellows to receive a seed investment from the Sara Blakely Foundation in May 2019.

The Life School .HEIC

During the height of the pandemic in 2020 Starr’s family relocated to South Florida but the work of TSI continued virtually. In 2021, Starr was named as one of ten L’Oréal Paris Women of Worth Honorees and debuted her first book, The Abuse Algorithm: Lessons in Protecting Children from Sexual Abuse, which shares stories of child sexual abuse survivors, explores how adverse childhood experiences impacted their lives and how this widespread issue is a preventable public health crisis. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of every book is donated to TSI. 

Every Thursday The Starr Institute shares the TSI Tip of the Week.  This is a short video concerning all things youth, childhood sexual abuse and exploitation, and new developments within the anti-trafficking space.  The tips help our supporters stay abreast of current events and gives them a direct opportunity to engage with us.

Governed by a 3-member volunteer Board of Directors based in Miami, Florida, The Starr Institute has proudly served more than 3,000 youth, adults, and professionals through a variety of awareness and prevention events since it's inception.


As Starr shared her story of abuse and began educating the community on child sexual abuse and exploitation, she noticed that people either really didn’t know what sex trafficking is or how it related to our children and youth.  And while the onus should not be on a child to protect themselves from victimization, they MUST be educated.  For that reason, The Starr Institute created awareness and prevention resources that are interactive, culturally relevant and age appropriate.  These resources are for youth, adults and professionals.

Need Help Now?

If you are being exploited or suspect someone is, you can report the abuse to the National Human Trafficking Hotline.

Hotline: 1-888-373-7888

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