A brief rant about the reaction to human trafficking.
Last week, I came across a Facebook status that really and truly should not have been shared at all. However, the content created such an emotional uproar that things got out of hand quickly; several thousand shares and like and comments later, people were no longer discussing the topic of the post, but rather attacking Obamacare and gun control laws. What in the world…?!
Now read the post, then hear what I have to say. Make sure you go over everything twice in order for everything to sink in properly. I am not here to criticize this woman’s story, but I will point out how misinformation can spread exponentially, especially in regards to the issue of human trafficking.
Myth #1: Human trafficking is in Cedar Rapids.
Reality: Human trafficking can be found anywhere in the United States and all around the world. It is not just reduced to sex trafficking, either – the food we eat and the electronics we use are more than likely rooted in forced labor in many countries. This means that every time we buy chocolate, coffee, cell phones and laptops, we have made some contribution to human trafficking.
Myth #2: You will be kidnapped while grocery shopping.
Reality: While kidnapping does happen out there, human traffickers are more likely to prey upon runaways, illegal immigrants and teens who talk to strangers online.
Myth #3: Having a CCW and taking a self-defense gives you the upper hand.
Reality: For those of you who are still uncomfortable with running your errands, here are a few tips that have been derived from the methods that human traffickers may use while trying to pick up a victim in a public place…
1. Someone compliments your eyes. If a stranger (usually a man) tells you that you have pretty eyes, just look at him confidently and say, “I know, thank you,” and keep walking. Why? Human traffickers target women with low self-esteem. If you’re confident about who you are – and you should be! – then the trafficker will quickly move on to find someone else. While this may deter other men from trying to ask you on a real date, you can still rest easy that you won’t be pulling a gun on anyone today (and possibly missing).
2. Someone wants to meet you alone. While common sense should be screaming, “Stay in a group! Say no! Stranger danger!” I just thought that I should add this little ditty in case you really do feel as if you are being followed: Stay in a group, say no, and definitely tell someone about stranger danger. Store clerks and security will definitely help you out if you feel unsafe, so please do not hesitate to ask for help. I used to work a very late shift in a not-so-great neighborhood, and security was always happy to walk me to my car if I felt uncomfortable venturing into the parking lot alone.
Myth #4: Life is like a scene from “Taken.”
Reality: NO ONE IS GOING TO INJECT ANYTHING INTO YOU AND THROW YOU INTO AN UNMARKED VAN. People are taught to worry about the creepy guy in the van, but what we should really be concerned about is the nice guy online.
Fortunately, the Grand Rapids police finally stepped in and released a statement that this was only a rumor. This may have angered a few people, but that’s probably because they didn’t know the really facts about human trafficking and how to end it! You are so clever for checking in with us, and know you can pass this knowledge on to your panicked friends.
Please remember that being informed and making the right decisions as a consumer are the two most important characteristics of being a modern day abolitionist! For more information, please visit our site to read more articles, talk to us and view some very informative videos about what else you can do to help children worldwide.