Sex trafficking in L.A. is getting worse. How do we protect ourselves?

A teenage girl was abducted five minutes away from where I live. It's time we protect ourselves.

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Sex trafficking in L.A. is getting worse. How do we protect ourselves?

Incidents of sexual harassment and kidnapping have been occurring on the streets of Los Angeles.

Incidents of sexual harassment and kidnapping have been occurring on the streets of Los Angeles.

PIXABAY

Incidents of sexual harassment and kidnapping have been occurring on the streets of Los Angeles.

PIXABAY

PIXABAY

Incidents of sexual harassment and kidnapping have been occurring on the streets of Los Angeles.

By Layla Williams, Staff Writer

Young girls are being kidnapped from the streets of South LA, which isn’t far from my neighborhood. 

I’d only known of these situations from movies but seeing these things happen close to home scares me. 

A few weeks ago a teenage girl who wasn’t identified was walking and was abducted near Alain LeRoy Locke College Preparatory Academy, which is only five minutes away from where I live. It’s sad that I can’t walk on my block without being paranoid that I can be abducted too. Even the witnesses to the girl’s abduction were no help. 

Bystanders turned to social media to post, “A girl was just thrown in a white van by Locke High School. Be careful y’all.” 

Why didn’t they contact the police? Did they think to write the license plate number down? Why didn’t they shout at the kidnapper to let them know they saw them? 

That was somebody’s child who will probably never see her family again. 

Sex trafficking becomes more frightening with abductions occurring in broad daylight. It’s difficult to be on the lookout for danger signals with abductors getting smarter and trickier.  

Everyday on Twitter I see new victims lost to sex trafficking. The victims are young females my age and I can’t help but think how that could have been me. Sex traffickers will target anybody. Your skin color, height, age and race don’t matter. If they have a chance to take you they will.

Females are not the only targets, males are susceptible to abduction and trafficking as well. A friend of mine who lives in Van Nuys told me he was walking to the bus after school when a van began to follow him. The van followed my friend’s pace He told me when he turned the corner and ran they were still following him but luckily he hit an alley and got away. It was a female driver and a male in the passenger seat so please be aware that it’s not only men involved in sex trafficking.

The sex trafficking industry has grown so large because people are making loads of money just by taking someone away from their family. They should be ashamed of themselves. How can you take someone away from their family and not feel guilty? Let alone beat them and rape them, then sell them to other men to repeat that cycle all over again. Hey sex trafficker, would you like it if your teenage daughter was taken away from you without a trace? Or how about your five-year-old daughter? And now you’re up wondering late at night if she’s still alive or not.

I don’t promote nor do I encourage violence so please don’t take this the wrong way, but ladies (and young men), please protect yourselves and be smart. Sex trafficking is real and can happen to anybody — even someone close to you. I suggest keeping pepper spray on you or even a taser just for protection. It might buy you more time to get away. I’d suggest a pocket knife but that isn’t appropriate for a school setting, but you get the idea. Please stay safe. 

Watch out for the signs of a sex trafficker. Another girl was snatched out of a Target parking lot and thrown in a van. When you are going to stores and notice a van near you, please watch your surroundings. If you see a van parked next to your car on your way out of the store, try to enter on the other side of your car because that’s how they get you. They wait for their victims to come back with groceries or other items they bought from the store and then they attack. They often knock out victims, so please be aware of surroundings.

For my ladies, technology has advanced so much as the decades are going by. Phones now have the option to allow share your location with your friends and family. It’s so easy to do. You can share your location in your messages and your friends are able to see where you are at all times whenever they open the app. Apple iPhones already the app built in. All my ladies, I suggest you share your location with a couple of close friends because you never know what could happen.

If you don’t have an iPhone don’t worry. An app called Home 360 lets you track your friends’ locations also. Just install this app on your phone and you can invite others when they install it.

If you are running away from a van and don’t have time to stop and dial 911 you can always summon Siri and say the numbers “112.” She gives you a three-second countdown before calling emergency services. “112” may throw an attacker off because they are used to 911, so hopefully you can use this method to contact help.

And for my “Uber everywhere” people, please be cautious that more than 10 Uber drivers were convicted for being sex traffickers. When you step in a stranger’s car, please make sure the license plate matches what it says on the Uber app and that the photo shown on the Uber profile is actually what your driver looks like. Be on your pivot at all times in these Ubers and never fall asleep or doze off. I suggest not to even have your music playing loud and to watch the Uber app as it shows you where you are going to make sure you are headed in the right direction.

Sex traffickers look just like us. Literally anybody could be a part of the sex trafficking industry, so watch your back and who you trust. Sex traffickers look like the people you’d least expect to commit such a crime. That’s how they get away with it so easily. It could easily be someone with a good background, but in reality they are really out here sex trafficking, so be careful.

If you know someone who’s been kidnapped or witnessed it happen, immediately call the National Human Sex Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888, even feel free to text them at 233733.

At the bottom is a list of signs when it comes to sex trafficking and how to avoid it. I hope this helps. Please show and warn everyone you care about, and most importantly stay safe. God bless you all.

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