We Single ladies love living the fab life, and often that means getting out of the house!  But it can be dangerous out there. In the U.S., violence against women is a persistent problem. Human trafficking, the recruitment, harboring or transporting of human beings for labor or services through the use of fraud, force or coercion, is also on the rise. Women, especially Single women, must be cognizant of their environments at all times to stay safe. Women are more likely to be targeted at night, especially when they are alone, walking home, in a dark parking lot or driving. So while fun is the goal, here are some tips to help make safety a priority:

1. Trust your instincts! If a situation doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.

2. Awareness – be aware of what is happening around you. For example, don’t text while walking through a parking lot. If you are jogging, make sure any music you listen to does not block out other sounds.

3. If you are being followed, don’t go straight home. If you are driving, exit at a police or fire station or a well-lit area like a restaurant or grocery store.

3. Safety in numbers: When going out, try to go in pairs or with a friend.

4. Communicate:  Always tell someone where you are going and what time you expect to return.

6. Be Socially Safe: Do not post personal information on social media, like what time you will be leaving work or home and where you will be going.

7. Never leave drinks unattended. A ‘date rape’ drug can be easily slipped into a glass. When returning from the dance floor or restroom, get a new drink from the bartender.

8.  Do not leave your house and car keys on the same key ring. Your house key can be quickly duplicated and your address obtained from your plate number.

In recognition of National Sex Trafficking Awareness Month (held in January), President Obama issued a Proclamation on Human Trafficking. Below are some facts about human trafficking in the U.S. (provided in conjunction with The Collective Advocates (Asha Tarry):

What is the purpose of human trafficking?
To control & subject people to involuntary servitude, debt bondage or slavery.
“Free labor” for others, not the victims, to profit from (human trafficking is a $32 billion industry.)

How many people are trafficked each year in America?
The exact number is unknown, but the U.S. Department of Justice estimates that 300,000-400,000 people are at risk. And 14,500-17,500 foreign nationals are trafficked into the U.S. yearly.

What forms of human trafficking exist?
Domestic servitude (housekeeping, nannies); debt bondage (paying off debts of your families whether real or falsified); commercial sex (prostitution, escort services, massage parlors); child soldiers; child marriage.

What psychological effects does trafficking have on victims?
Trauma bonding: which is when a person who has been abused or exploited develops a bond to their victimizer and makes escape that more difficult. The victim will develop an affinity to the perpetrator and make excuses for the abuse and exploitation of the perpetrator.

What are the ages of human trafficked victims?
Trafficked victims are all ages but the average age of sex trafficked victims is 12 years old.

How is it that so many Americans don’t know human trafficking exists domestically?
50% of the victims are children who go missing, or runaway from home.

Many victims are kept in pimp and madame controlled circumstances (such as brothels, resident’s apartments/homes, massage parlors & strip club circuits).

Victims identities (their names) and their documents (passports, etc.) are also changed.

 

For more information on missing persons and human trafficking, visit www.bamfi.org.