This year, sex trafficking reached a 13-year record high, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. In light of these staggering statistics Black women are flocking to social media to let other Black women and girls know what to look out for.
Black women and girls have all the reason to be afraid. It’s not like law enforcement really makes an effort to look for us when we’re gone. Although Black children make up only about 14 percent of the United States, 37 percent of missing children under 18 are Black, according to the FBI’s nation Crime Information Center. Black girls represent 10 percent of those missing children.
And it’s not like news media organizations help raise awareness either. In 2015, although 35 percent of missing children were Black, they were only mentioned in seven percent of media references. Throughout history, media has proven to be an excellent tool in solving missing person cases but for reasons that are all too familiar, Black people don’t receive enough national coverage.
As of now there are 75,000 young Black Americans currently missing. Above all, we want you to be safe so check out these tips we’ve compiled from the New York Police Department and Natalie Wilson, co-founder of the Black and Missing Foundation, Inc. Albeit there are no foolproof measures, here are safety measures that can keep you safe from sex traffickers.
- Share your location with a close friend or two. If you’re ever in danger or turn up missing, you won’t be hard to find.
- If you are being attacked, make a scene.
- Before walking out to your car, have your keys out and ready so you’re not rummaging through your purse to find them. Don’t try to find them as your walking to the car either. Abductors love a distracted person. Try to look through your back seat window before you get in, just to make sure no one’s in there. Lock your car door as soon as you enter your car and keep it locked.
- If you’re ever bound by zip ties, offer your hands with your wrist facing each other. This is the easiest way to escape by slipping out.
- If you get in your car and someone puts a gun to your head, floor it into a wall or any nearby structure. The kidnapper will fly forward and you’ll be saved by your airbag. As soon as you can, run.
- If you ever find yourself in a compromising situation, use your elbow. Here’s a video on how to do a proper Taekwondo elbow strike.
- If you are forced into the truck of vehicle, kick out the back tail lights and push your arm through the hole and wave frantically. Everyone behind your kidnapper’s vehicle will see you.
- Although we’re in the age of online dating, a DM can be dangerous. So, if you’ve been chatting with someone online, do not meet them by yourself. Sex traffickers have been known to collect victims via the internet. So do the, “send me a picture with you holding a fork,” ask. Meet in a public place and don’t take no for an answer. It’s better to be skeptical than sorry. Catfish isn’t just a show and sometimes the person on the other side may be more sinister than an inaccurate photo.
- Stay in groups when you’re out in public. This has been so ingrained in us, that we even go to the bathroom together. The goal is to never be alone because you never know who’s waiting for the opportunity. The buddy system is a basic block but effective.
- Avoid over sharing on social media or tagging your location. You want to avoid being tracked. Someone should be able to follow your movements through social media daily, says Wilson.
- Kidnappers are also known to play victims or someone hurt. Avoid people who “need help to their car.” Sometimes it’s real, sometimes it’s a ploy. Stick to your gut and trust the vibes and your intuition.
These tips can make all the difference, so please share and stay safe.