Causes

Find Our Girls – Staying Safe This Summer

Human/Sex Trafficking is at an all time high in the United States of America right now. You would think this would be a mainstream, ongoing story on all news channels and outlets daily but many have no idea what is going on right now in their own backyards. According to Madame Noire, in the first three months of this year, the District of Columbia has logged 501 cases of missing juveniles, a majority of them were African American and Hispanic. That was just for the first three months, not including the months that have followed since then.

With missing children and teen reports increasing weekly, we must take things into our own hands in order to protect not only ourselves ladies, but the children around us as well. Yes, we often look for the men of our lives to lookout for us and our government officials, but that does not seem like enough during these troubling times. Now is the time to start taking precautions and start putting things in place to ensure your own safety. Below are some resources we can all use to protect ourselves from being snatched away, take some time to read over them and check out the links provided with other valuable resources we can all have right now:

  1. Damsel in Defense – Last year I attended the Woman’s Show in Charlotte, North Carolina at the Convention Center Uptown and came across a vendor who focuses on providing protection strictly for women of all ages. The unique thing about the protection products from this particular company, is that they are all concealed as normal items. For example, they have a covered pepper spray in disguise as hair spray so you can place it in your bags while shopping or visiting new areas. Personal alarms for yourself in the event of a personal assault. As well as many varieties of stun guns to use for your defense. Stylish bags and clutches are available for you to keep up with all of your items while traveling, while also allowing you to conceal your registered weapons of protection with the bag’s secret compartments stitched inside them. The second great thing I loved about this particular company is that they also offer Digital Defense plans for families who have teenage children on the internet. According to Damsel in Defense, 1 in 5 children are solicited sexually while on the internet. With their digital program plan, parents would be able to be notified if their child has been harassed or solicited online, along with protecting them from online predators targeting the youth. Check it out by visiting www.digitaldamsel.net.
  2. Buddy System – The Buddy System is where you try to not go anywhere alone, always have at least one other person with you while attending events, shopping, or even traveling to other places you’ve never been before. This is also valuable for school aged kids and teens who often travel on foot from school or bus stop areas to their homes. Always make sure they have an after school buddy for those traveling distances so they are not alone. This is a system that we all can remember as kids, especially if you are a female. Now, is the time to re-enforce that method especially with the summer time pretty much already here which means more people will be out and about.
  3. The Internet – Our very own world wide web, in which we use on a daily basis and is apart of every household right now as we speak, is the number #1 tool sexual predators use every single day to kidnap innocent children. Please pay attention to the websites your teen may visit regularly. If they are fond of social media sites, join them to keep an eye on what is being posted by them and from others on their pages. Some red flags are as simple as a post that may help stop any potential wrong doing before it occurs. Pay attention to what pictures are being posted by your teen as well, especially if they are a female. What you post really does matter in the cyber world not only for job purposes but also for how strangers may view you and the decision they may attempt to make concerning you. As we all know most content online is adult rated in this day and age, so if they are not at least 15-16 years or older, they should not be apart of any social networking sites online. The internet could be more dangerous for a child online, than offline if caught in the wrong situations with strangers.
  4. Weapons Permit – A concealed weapons permit allows you to carry your firearm with you for protection legally. We all have the right to bear arms, but we all must do so on a legal note by getting the correct paperwork and certifications so we do not get ourselves into more trouble than necessary. With a concealed weapons permit course, you would be trained on the safety of your firearm, along with how to use it and when it is best for you to use. There are many options nationwide for this type of training, just Google weapons permit classes in your area for a list of the many classes for you to attend today. Our good friend TreVon Barber over at Tre’Barber Photography could be able to help some of you out who reside in the Greenville/Spartanburg areas of South Carolina as well. Check out his video of one of his own training at this link for more information.
  5. Uber/Lyft – We all tend to use public transportation more during the summertime, not only to save money on gas but to be among the crowds as well on those pretty summer days. Two of the most popular transportation methods right now would be Uber and Lyft carpool services. I am a former driver for Uber, I drove for them for about 6-8 months during parts of last year and this year. I never really had any problems due to me being very specific about which areas I wanted to work in, and what times I wanted to participate in shuttling people around the cities of Rock Hill, South Carolina, Fort Mill, South Carolina, and Charlotte, North Carolina. While driving for this growing company during my spare time from my main job, I quickly realized the many loopholes this company still needs to work on for the safety of not only the drivers, but the riders as well. If you plan on using this service to transport your children for any summer activities, camps or just back and forth from friends houses while you’re at work, please teach them the importance of staying safe while in another adult’s vehicle. By law, you must be 18 years or older to ride with Uber, but there were times where parents would request rides, come out to my car and practically beg me to take their underage children from point A to point B simply because they could not do so due to work schedules. This is a big no-no. You have no idea of the intentions of that driver once you place your underage child in the backseat of their car. This is not only a safety concern for the child, but could allow that particular driver to be fired from the company all together. Of course we all want people to do good, but we all know this is not a fantasy world and everyone does not have good intentions. If you have children under the age of 18 years old, I would advise using a more safer method of transportation for them like your public city buses, or a certified taxi cab service. Some cities even have subways and light rails with metro cards that are pre-paid and can be used daily. NEVER place your child in an Uber or Lyft after dark! I repeat NEVER PLACE YOUR CHILD IN AN UBER OR LYFT AFTER DARK! I can not stress it enough, when the suns goes down, all types of different people are out and about. Sometimes drivers pick up more than one rider at a time, which wouldn’t be good for a 16 year old girl to ride around with a 55 year old man who has had one too many drinks at the local bar pub after 8pm.

We hope these small tips help you all to stay safe out here this summer. If you have any additional suggestions or advice, please leave a comment below in our comment section. We would love to hear/read any additional help you may have. Stay safe everyone!



Resources:
Hunting Child Predators with Canadian Freelance Vigilantes
Ebony Alerts App

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children: 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678)
The National Runaway Safeline: 1-800-RUNAWAY (1-800-786-2929)
Girls on The Run
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