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.
The Disturbing Facebook PostJust 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!