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.
*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!!