Thursday, March 9, 2017

Local Mom Warns About Threat at Big Spring Park

by Glenni Lorick, IBCLC
I came across something on Facebook the other night that really disturbed me. A local mom had posted a warning based on something that happened to her Saturday when she took her new puppy and 3 children to Big Spring Park. Earlier that day I had come across this post at ATTN: which highlights the fact that 2 million children worldwide are being trafficked as sex slaves. Laura Parker of Exodus Road estimates the total number of people in slavery worldwide as over 45 million. According to the Global Slavery Index, 57,700 people are living in slavery in the United States.

In 2013, the FBI warned that sex trafficking was on the rise in North Alabama partly because we are right in the middle of a trafficking triangle that connects Birmingham, Nashville and Atlanta. Just last year a ring was busted in Nashville!  That's WAY too close to home! The really terrifying thing here, though, is that over half of those cited wanted sex with a minor. Sadly, this sting didn't catch the monsters responsible for holding these children in slavery. But another 2016 sting did catch a North Alabama lawyer who was part of a trafficking ring with underage victims.

Madison County Chief Deputy David Jernigan addressed the
media after arrests in a 2015 trafficking case.
That's why I couldn't help but be shaken when I read this post. Even more disconcerting were the hundreds of responses from other mothers who had experienced similarly creepy situations all over the Tennessee Valley. The threat is very real!

The Disturbing Facebook Post

Just a heads up... If anyone is going to Big Spring Park in Huntsville please keep your eyes on your kids at all times! I had a VERY strange and unsettling experience there this Saturday (3/4/17) and it left me never wanting to take my 3 kids out without my husband ever again. Luckily I carry everywhere I go, but I still pray that I never have to use my weapon. I seriously thought I was going to have to this past weekend. Sex trafficking is for real y'all. It's much more common than we think. People work in groups of 2 or more. Often times one person will try to distract you from your children while the other person snatches them up. It's not just at big spring park either. It's everywhere. The world is not what it was 30 years ago.


Here's what happened:
I was with my 3 kids and my new puppy. I had seen a woman in her mid 30's watching us from afar with her big boxer on a leash. She finally came up to us, and was very interested in my dog. I immediately felt uneasy because she got extremely too close way too fast as if her dog was some powerful beast that she was unable to control. Too bad I had just watched her for the 10 minutes she was watching us, and saw how very well behaved her pup was even when a duck was right in his path. Anyways, while she was making small talk, I noticed a very large (not fat, just very built) man pacing back and forth watching my kids. I hadn't seen him at all, even tho I'm extremely aware of my surroundings especially with all 3 kiddo's in tow by myself. I got an extremely uncomfortable feeling and very scared, all while this woman was still trying to talk with me. I made eye contact with him, so he knew I knew he was there, and the woman who was just chatty Kathy with me for about 5 minutes just walked away. Didn't even say goodbye. Just walked away. I told my 2 older ones to grab my arms and walk fast with me. The man watched me walk away. When I made it to my car, I got my kids in and I was looking out of my window to try and spot these folks. The lady was wearing a bright red jacket so it wasn't like I could miss her or anything. I couldn't see her anywhere. She was gone. But then... THEN y'all!!! I see this man j walking and crossing the street and heading straight for my car. I hopped in, put my keys in the ignition and started pulling out of the parking lot. This man watched me drive away, and the eye contact he held was very eery and creepy. I thank God for protecting my children, and I'm so beyond grateful that nothing happened. Be aware of your surroundings ALWAYS!

What Can You Do?

If you feel uncomfortable in a situation, trust your gut! It is far better to overreact where there is no danger than to fail to react where there is! These tips will help you and your children stay safe. If you are in a situation where somebody is making you uncomfortable, leave. As you are leaving, pull out your cell phone and start recording the situation. Get faces and voices, and be sure that any suspects can tell they are being recorded. Call the police immediately and describe the suspects. Or better yet, when you get into your car, drive to the police station. Do not drive home or to a relative's house because you might be followed.

Teach your children to run and raise a ruckus like a child did just today when somebody makes them feel uneasy. Fortunately neighbors stepped in to help the child who was on the way home from school.  Dads, make sure you are actively involved in your daughters' lives. These creeps prey on little girls who are looking for a father-figure. If you really want to make a difference, you can join the North Alabama Human Trafficking Task Force.  They welcome volunteers! 

Y'all, the horrifying truth is that this is happening right here in our backyard. But we have a STRONG parenting village, and together we can send the message that the Tennessee Valley won't tolerate predators!

14 comments:

  1. It was in 2013 I think - when a trafficking ring was busted at the Motel 6 in Madison (quite near Wall Trina and I-65. The traffickers brought minor girls to the motel and was selling them out of the motel rooms. Frightening and sad.

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  2. Sex trafficking is more rampant than most of realize. We think it happens other places. It is real here in Alabama, with corridor of I-10, I-65, I-20, & I-59. Be aware of not only your surroundings for your own children, but watch out for other children as well. All ages are involved. If something doesn't look right, call 911. Better safe than sorry.

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    1. Thank you for this reminder to call 911 if something doesn't seem right.

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  3. If you or someone you know has been taken for sex trafficking, call Saved in America immediately. They are trained professionals who know how to deal with these people and are your best bet for bringing your loved one home. They not only locate the victims and help rehab them but they nail the traffickers. Check out www.savedinamerica.org today.

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  4. I just happened to notice that one of the people that "have you in their circle" was a scantily-clad woman. I was suspicious and when I clicked on it, it was called "Sex Korean HD." You might want to unfriend and report that group somehow. I'm not in Google Circles, so I don't know how.

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    1. Laurie, I just checked my circles and didn't see that anywhere.

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  5. This borders on extreme paranoia and hysteria. There was no attempt to abduct this woman's kids, other than the mother's overactive imagination. This woman must lead a very fearful life, seeing child kidnappers behind every rock. Did the woman call the police? Are there any news articles about this event having taken place? I did a google search and found nothing...Please folks, take this with a grain of salt. Don't succomb to this type of fear mongering.

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    1. You should always be suspicious of anyone. Anyone is a potential predator. When it comes to my kids and if I noticed someone even suspiciously watching them I would display my firearm for a warning before I start blasting.

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    2. Yes, she did report it to the police. You probably didn't find anything in your google search because this just happened last week and fortunately the outcome was NOT bad. The mom is still shaken by it. Interestingly enough on her original Facebook post, at least half a dozen other mothers related similar incidences in public places ranging from grocery stores to parking lots to parks. I respectfully disagree with you about "extreme paranoia and hysteria."

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  6. You are uneducated. I have a friend who teaches trafficked people right here in Birmingham, Al. It is super common and happens just like this article says. Random abductions AND seductions of lonely girls. I advise everyone to ignore your stupid comments.

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  7. I agree that's persons comment was very stupid. Sounds like he might be a trafficker himself. Who in their right mind would not be cautious. I don't let my little girl get any farther away from me that I can't come to her rescue. She also knows to fight and cause a commotion and that anyone is a stranger unless they are family. Would rather be over cautious than not prepared

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    1. Concerned Father, thank you for your comments. It is definitely better to err on the side of caution in this day and age.

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  8. I'm sorry, but being CAUTIOUS does not equate to "extreme paranoia and hysteria". Just because there may not have been an actual attempt to abduct the child doesn't mean they didn't have that intention, it just means they did not get the opportunity, probably because the mother was watching so closely. In the original post several people commented that they had seen the same man that day and agreed that he was acting very suspiciously, so obviously it wasn't just one person being paranoid. And it's idiots like you who cause people to doubt their own intuition for fear of being viewed as paranoid, and then by the time they realize something really isn't right it's too late. Even if the guy wasn't up to something, and it wasn't creepy for him to be hanging out at the park watching young kids play, what harm is there in reminding people to stay vigilant? She didn't react in a hysterical way, she simply got her kids and left. I would have done the same thing.

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  9. Don't be afraid to ask for help if it is available. I was in a very eerie situation at a Wal Mart some years ago. The man that was staring me down make my hair stand on end. I got a store guard to walk me to my car. That night or the next, a picture of the man I saw was on the local news. He was a wanted sex offender.

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