Trafficking in the US: Bigger than we think!

Random Fact: If you yelled for over 8 and one half years, you would have produced enough sound energy to heat one cup of coffee.

Mental Health Fact: 1 in 5 persons suffering from Bipolar disorder
Will complete suicide

Ok guys, it is time for this blog to get serious! I have been hearing in the news a lot lately about human trafficking specifically human sex trafficking. I know, I can hear the groans now, but let’s put this terrifying risk in perspective. Amarillo sits on I-40. This is a major freeway running coast-to-coast, meaning, if you get snatched, you could be halfway out of the state within an hour. Within four hours, you could be in OKC, which not only has I-40 running east and west, but also I-35 which runs north and south. Now that I have your attention, let’s move on.

So, you have heard of this thing called human trafficking but what is it really? You may be asking, “Does it really affect me? Is there anything I can do to protect myself?” I hope to provide some answers to those questions today.

First off, let’s define human sex trafficking. Sex trafficking occurs when people (men, women, and children) are forced to perform sexual acts against their will. Child sex trafficking includes ANY child forced into sexual acts for money against their will. Sex traffickers are looking for vulnerable people who may have been abused and will use violence, threats, lies, control, or even make that person work off money through sex, and other forms of manipulation to keep their victims involved in the sex trade. We will talk about the Domestic Sex Trafficking problem happening right here in the United States as we speak.

STATISTICS

*There are 100,000-300,000 underage girls being sold for sex in America.
*The average age of entry into prostitution is 12-14.
*50,000 woman and children are trafficked into the United States each year.
*1 out of every 3 teens will be lured toward prostitution within 48 hours of running away from home
*Minor victims were sold an average of 10-15 times a day, 6 days a week.
*1 out of 5 pornographic images is of a child
*The sale of child pornography has become a $3 billion industry.
*Over 100,000 websites offer child pornography.
*55% of Internet child pornography comes from the United States.

You may be thinking, “Ok, well that is all fine and good Angie, but how do I know someone is a victim?”
Here are some warning signs to look for. If you see any of these red flags, tell an adult immediately and have them call 888-373-7888, or you can always call them yourself. These are only some of the signs someone might have.

Red Flags: This person is

Not free to leave or come and go as he/she wishes
Under 18 and getting paid for sex
Performs sex acts and has a pimp or manager
Unpaid or paid very little, or paid through tips
Works long, excessive, or unusual hours
Not allowed breaks or has unusual restrictions at work
Owes a large amount of money and can’t pay it off
High security measures exist in the work and/or living locations
Poor Mental Health or Abnormal Behavior
Anxious, Depressed, Submissive, Tense, Nervous, or Paranoid
Unusually afraid of law enforcement
Avoids eye contact
Poor physical health
Has multiple Cell Phones

***Please note these are only some of the Red flags a person might exhibit if one is a victim of trafficking.

“Ok, Angie, I Know what trafficking is, I know what signs to look for, but how do I escape someone who might try to kidnap me? How can I stay safe?” These are great questions, and the answers are fairly easy! The best thing to do is to ALWAYS tell someone where you are going. Go in groups! Safety in numbers is not just a cool thing to say, it’s a cool and super safe thing to do! However, if someone does grab your wrist and try to drag you away, simply stay calm and do those giant windmills they have you do in gym class. You know the ones where you swing your arms in giant circles. Do it big and do it strong! A kidnapper will not be able to hold on to your wrist. Then RUN, SCREAM, and TELL! Also, the thumb is the weakest point on a person’s hand when they grab your wrist. Pull your hand quickly and forcefully in the direction of their thumb and they will let go. Go on, practice with Mom and Dad. Then, RUN, SCREAM, and TELL! If someone grabs your backpack, purse, or jacket, drop it. Take them off. Drop that item. It is better to lose a textbook or money than a child who is priceless. Then RUN, SCREAM, and TELL! Don’t be afraid to poke someone in the eye. They can’t drag you away if they can’t see you. Also, guys, if it comes down to survival, kick ‘em where it counts and get out of there. Say it with me,
“RUN, SCREAM, and TELL!”

I hope this blog has been helpful and has in some way given you guys a sense of peace and control. My goal is not to scare you, that is for Matt to do with as scary as he is, but to arm you with knowledge and show you what you can do to protect yourself. You guys enjoy your summer and please, please, BE SAFE OUT THERE!!

Angie

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Weekly Dear Constance

Dear Constance,

I have a friend who is in a relationship and she is starting to choose her boyfriend over me. We used to do everything together and now I can’t do anything with her without him being there and I don’t even get to talk to him her on the phone for long anymore without him calling. Please help!

Frustrated at Fannin

Dear Frustrated,

Try talking to your friend. She may not realize you are missing your time together so much. Setting some time aside weekly for just the two of you doing some things you enjoy like hanging out at the mall or what not may be just what the two of you need. However, for that to work, you must realize that while you are still her friend her boyfriend will also be a part of her life as well. With the summer in full swing, it can get fairly boring, but now might be a good time to tackle a new hobby or learn a new pastime, possibly, dare I say, meet new people yourself. Take care of your needs too but remember to nurture your friendships as well. Boys will come and go, however, your girls are there forever.

Constance

Random fact: There are 293 ways to make change for a dollar.

I have a funny story to share with everyone this week. It actually involves my husband while he was driving his oil truck at work a few months ago. He picks up the oil from the wells in the fields and delivers it to a storage facility before moving onto the refinery. A lot of his oil wells are out in the middle of nowhere and are very hard to find. Because he drives his semi at night, it is also very dark since his oil wells are out in the country. He made a wrong turn one night and his truck got stuck in some sand. So he called his boss to get some help getting unstuck. He told them he would walk back down to the main road so they could find him easier and he could finish his work for the night. On his way back down to the road however, he noticed a small herd of cattle grazing and one large bull watching him. The bull began running very fast right at my husband! It was very dark and my husband had no trees or fences or any way to get away from this charging bull, and to make it worse, the other cows began running towards him as well. Thankfully, a pickup truck came around the corner quickly and my husband jumped in the seat real fast and shut the door as the cows stopped the small but nonetheless very scary stampede. My husband told the driver of the truck “I am glad you are here!” The driver then said, “They must’ve thought you were going to feed them.” It didn’t take long for my husband to realize the man who no doubt had just saved his life from the very hungry cows was NOT the man who was coming to get him unstuck. The driver was the farmer who owned the cows. My husband single handedly started a stampede and climbed into a truck with a complete stranger who had no clue who he was! The lesson to be learned here is, ALWAYS ask directions!

I hope you enjoyed a good laugh as I did, and still do, at my husband’s expense. Please remember to visit the AAYC every chance you get and give Matt some grief for me too!

Ask Angie; new addition to our Blog

Random fun fact:
A jiffy is actually a unit of time, 1/100th of a second!

WELCOME TO THE AAYC BLOG!

Hi! My name is Angie Miles and I am more than happy to be honored to write this blog for my good friend Matt at the AAYC! I have known Matt for almost…. Ok so length of time is not important, but let’s just say, I have some good stories. I have been living in OKC for nearly seven years and it is definitely my new home.

I graduated Tascosa High School in 199something and I am currently a student at Oklahoma Christian University in OKC. I am an English/Creative Writing Major and loving every minute of being in school.

I hope to bring some humor and lighthearted fun to this blog as well as some real information that helps kids just like you and even some boring information for those parental units which can be annoying but have your best interests at heart. Mental Health is important especially at this age, and we will even have some facts about abuse and signs to look for so you can be ready for anything! I am so excited to meet each and every one of you. I look forward to sharing advice through the new advice section of the blog written by Constance Walker, you could say we are inseparable and even a fun random fact each week to be brought to you by only the most random and funniest of pages. There will be links to funny videos and occasionally, even links to activities and Fright-mare there at the AAYC!

With so much going on, it’s impossible not to get excited! So stick around and see what happens next!

Finally, a few ground rules, when asking for advice, remember, if you know who has asked the question, please keep that to yourself. Second, everyone has a voice and chance to use that voice. Share that space. Finally, remember to have fun with it! I am open to suggestions and opinions so do share them!

Until next time!