Jennifer Robinson

I fear no man! I will never be one to look over my shoulder every second for fear of what man may do.

What I will do is be proactive in protecting me and my family. How do I protect my family? By having meaningful discussions about life, social issues, spiritual connections and world affairs.

Unfortunately, the current social issue that has grabbed our attention is sex trafficking. I have seen many social media posts and heard from various news outlets about children, teens and often times, adult women being taken from different locations.

Most recently, a woman in Houston stated she was picked up by an Uber driver to be taken to work. She wasn’t paying attention to the route he was taking because she was on her cell phone. When she looked up, she noticed he was going in a direction that was opposite of the way to her job. She said he then stopped behind an unmarked truck, where an unknown man got out and proceeded to her side of the car.

The woman said when she realized what was happening, she jumped out of the other side of the car and ran until she arrived at a safe location. She then videoed her experience after she called local authorities.

Though I have heard of sex and human trafficking many times before, it seems as though in recent months, occurrences of kidnapping for trafficking has been more frequent. When I see the posts about incidents, I immediately think of my daughters and how I want them to be safe.

When I heard the story I mentioned above, I called my daughters and asked if they had any ways to protect themselves. One of my daughters said yes and told me what she had.

The other said no. I was really concerned, because she works in retail, and store departures are a prime target for traffickers. My second daughter said she does not leave her job alone. A part of their store policy is for all employees to leave the store in a group for their safety. Though it gave me a sigh of relief, I still want her to have at least some pepper spray to deter potential offenders.

As I often write in my article, education or knowledge about social happenings is so important to our success in society. We do not inquire about those things that have the possibility of hurting our families and own well beings.

Did you know …?

Education is the No. 1 way to prevent human trafficking!

What is trafficking? That person does not look like she or he is being held against their will!

Human trafficking is a hidden crime, as victims rarely come forward to seek help because of language barriers, fear of the traffickers or fear of law enforcement.

Signs of trafficking. How do I know if someone is actually a victim?

Recognizing key indicators of human trafficking is the first step in identifying victims and can help save a life.

Myths. That doesn’t happen in MY city! And other false information.

(fighttoendexploitation.org)

Many people are too afraid to address this issue but have an immediate reaction once it happens. They also believe their immediate action is somehow retroacted and will somehow erase what has occurred. That may work in an alternate world, but on this planet and in our world, sex trafficking incidents are increasing.

I don’t want anyone to look over their shoulders for fear of being kidnapped. Take these precautionary steps:

Educating yourself.

Buy defense products.

Be aware of your surroundings.

Try not to be alone when away from your dwelling.

Do not be distracted by mobile devices.

Those are just a few. There are many more!

Pay attention, folks, the prowlers are on the loose. Please inform yourselves, your families and your friends. Your lives depend on doing so!

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Jennifer Guiles Robinson lives in Florence with her husband, Eric. She is director of Empowered to Heal, a local nonprofit that provides healing services for abuse survivors. Jennifer loves to travel. Email her at empoweredtoheal@gmail.com.

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