Understanding dangers, prevention of trafficking

By Cassie Munoz/reporter

NE students took steps to become lifesavers, learning about ways to prevent sex trafficking April 24.

Sarah Phillips, project coordinator for Rescue Her, an organization that advocates for sex trafficking victims, enlightened students on the truth and myths of the issue.

Phillips talked about the proximity of trafficking, the demand, how technology plays a role and how to help fight human trafficking. She said there are more reports in near Dallas-Fort Worth than other areas, helping students understand the proximity of sex trafficking.

“We are just more aware,” Phillips said. “We are making more calls, which is a positive thing.” 

It’s all about supply and demand when it comes to sex trafficking, she said. 

“With the NFL Draft in Arlington, that brings in more demand, so therefore, there is a greater risk of exploitation,” Phillips said.

She said technology plays a big role in sex trafficking.

“Most of it is done online because of the anonymity that exploiting someone gives the buyer and trafficker online,” Phillips said. “The majority of trafficking victims have been sold online at some point, and the majority of youth victims have been first contacted over social media.”

Apps like Snapchat, which many students have on their personal devices, have disappearing pictures which make it hard to find evidence of exploitation.

Phillips said although not everyone can help victims directly, awareness is a good place to start.

“What each and every person in this room can do is be a part of prevention,” she said. “You can do that through becoming aware like you are doing right now.”