Ways to avoid human trafficking


Supplies that can be used to defend yourself against attacks. Credit: Macey MacArthur

Jakai Spikes and Macey MacArthur

 Sex trafficking in the United States, Atlanta specifically, is at an all time high. Biz Journals reports that from 2012 to 2017 the Atlanta trafficking industry grew from $232 million to $290 million, which is “more than the revenue generated by Atlanta’s illegal drug and gun trade combined.” With Roswell High being so close to the city, it is essential that everyone stays alert and takes some extra steps to stay safe. Below are some tips on ways to try to ensure personal safety in the face of this tragic danger.

Stay Vigilant. In life, you can only do what you can control. This is why it’s important to ensure that if you are out in public, you maintain keeping your head on a swivel. For example, I was watching Egypt Sherrod’s latest Instagram post warning woman of suspicious activity to look out for. The video is titled “Stop! Listen! Be Aware!”. In our everyday lives, we tend to move fast and not be aware of our surroundings. Victims of Sex Trafficking have warned us to be aware of the cars parked next to us. Sex Traffickers are using vans to lure in women. They will park next to a victim’s car and attempt to snatch the victim or attempt to use a distracting tool to place on the windshield of a car to cause the driver to lose focus. That trick amongst others has caused women to be kidnapped. Remain cautious of unknown text message senders and callers. Don’t engage in conversations with unknown people that you wouldn’t trust in your home alone. Social media is another hotline for sex traffickers. Remember that everything you post is being watched by many people, some you know and some you don’t. Fake pages are common, so don’t engage in conversations with accounts that you’re not familiar with.

Buddy System. Have you ever heard the saying “girls always go to the bathroom together”? This system sounds “childish”, but it is very crucial to women’s safety. If you happen to be in a public place and have to use the restroom or go out to your car, bring a trusted person with you to keep you company. Not only is this buddy keeping you company but their presence is acting as a form of protection. Sex Traffickers prey on woman that are alone, and look “lost”. When you’re walking in places, keep your head up and walk with a purpose and take your trusted buddy with you if your planning on leaving the scene. This system is very logical because, if something goes wrong, you have another person to help you contact the authorities.

Act Swiftly if Suspicious. In movies, the main character tends to freeze up when they are faced with their greatest fear. Even though this feeling is relatable, you can’t do this if you suspect suspicious activity. Freezing up could cause the victim harm. It’s important to educate yourself on sex trafficking cautions, so that, if you are faced with a problem, you know how to react. Don’t be naive and think that this can’t happen to you. It’s happening everywhere and to thousands of women. Use your resources to your advantage to escape danger in the fastest way possible. Don’t allow fear to hold you hostage; think about your family and your life that could be at risk. 

Use Your Phone. Texting a friend or trusted peer when you are expected to arrive to your car or house could be life-saving. If your only option is to walk somewhere alone, call a friend and keep them on the line until you are safe. Another good plan is to share your location at all times with a select few individuals you trust to only use that information if necessary. This allows for someone to know where you or your phone were last seen, or where you currently are and could be essential to finding you in case you end up in danger. 

Be Prepared. Along with the buddy system, staying vigilant and even sharing your location, traffickers could still catch you off guard. Some women choose to carry brass knuckles or hold their keys between their fingers; however, a less violent option could be something along the lines of pepper spray, which can be ordered on amazon for anywhere from $5-$20. In fact, this is so popular that companies have started selling decorated pepper spray bottles, or canisters that look like lipstick containers. As harrowing as it may be to consider carrying these items at all times, it is becoming increasingly necessary. There is no way to tell if you or a loved one will be targeted next, so the best thing to do is stay safe and prepared.