Mom Warns Parents: My Daughter Was Targeted By Traffickers At the Mall

While it rarely comes up, I’ve since used every opportunity I could to allow my daughter’s “gut instinct” to thrive. And she used just that– a primal “gut instinct” to tell me, “Mom, something isn’t right.” My daughter is not, “hypersensitive,” nor was she, “being rude” for talking about how a man coming into her personal space made her feel unsafe. I’ve done everything in my power to help my daughter evolve her confidence to speak up and recognize just what it takes to keep herself safe in today’s world. As a mother who wholeheartedly believes in the power of manners, and inclusion, it’s been tricky to navigate when manners aren’t warrantied, and niceties are allowed to not exist.

“You kick and you scream,” I tell my younger son. “You do everything in your power to get away, I will always believe you.”

“You listen to your gut,” I explain to my daughter. “You listen to the animal instinct you own to get yourself to safety. You don’t owe anyone anything.”

But it all comes down to this: I spent my teen years in that same food court at that same mall. And we live in a world where a man can set something up with a mobile phone, while a girl sits 20 feet away from her mother.

Be aware. Spread the world. Talk often.

Let me be clear; by sharing Hindes’ post I’m not trying to spread fear, but AWARENESS and PREPAREDNESS. Sex trafficking IS a thing, and traffickers are very aggressive because of the large amounts of money they bring in by luring just ONE new person into their operation. It’s a lucrative and CONSISTENT business (sadly, the DEMAND is there!!) and my home state of Ohio is one of the top states for it, sadly. Hindes’ warning about locations in close proximity to the Interstate highway is true, and locations where TWO major highways meet (in my local case, I-70 and I-75) are especially susceptible to trafficking dangers.

Parenting in this modern age can be hard and scary, but we aren’t doing our kids any favors by shielding them from these possibilities. Make sure your kids know to be on the alert at the mall or the store, in parking lots, and that they know what to do if approached — who to tell, where to run, to “kick, scream, and fight,” as Hindes said, and also, as she noted to her son, that you as their parents will BELIEVE your child when they come to you.

We don’t need to live our lives in fear, and neither do our kids! But living our lives AWARE is NEVER a bad thing — so take the time to talk to your kids about how traffickers might look and act in public places and make sure they know what to do to get help immediately (approach a store or mall employee and make a LOT OF NOISE if they are alone!)

Take care, parents! Thank you, Ms. Hindes, for speaking out!

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Jenny Rapson
Jenny Rapson is a follower of Christ, a wife and mom of three from Ohio and a freelance writer and editor. You can find her at her blog, Mommin' It Up, or follow her on Twitter.