Social Media

Social Media Has Changed the Game for Human-Traffickers

This is how Mainers are staying safe on the streets

Maine is statistically numbered one of the safest states to live in in the U.S., and yet we have few ways to protect those who are susceptible to becoming victims about the serious matter of sex trafficking in the state. 

According to statistics conducted in 2015 there’s an estimated 300-400 sex trafficking victims in Maine annually. 71% of law enforcement officers aren’t  familiar with any organizations in Maine addressing human trafficking, and fewer than half of all law enforcement officers in Maine believe that their departments are prepared to address cases involving minors. My concern is why hasn’t anybody taken the necessary precautions to educate most of our schools, teachers, and police force? How do you identify a predator from an everyday person on the street? What signs should we look for? I couldn’t tell you myself!

As a middle and high school student there was a trend that we used to relay important news to each other relating to trafficking… a student would upload a story of his/her encounter with a sketchy person or van and warn others in the local area to steer clear and remain vigilant, and this would make its rounds through Snapchat stories. This was our defense against human/sex trafficking and predators, kids protecting each other through word of mouth and the power of social media. 

Trafficking doesn’t get the media coverage it deserves in Maine. We need streamline guidance, language to use in situations of emergencies, increased community awareness of red flags and how to respond appropriately, and support services available to victims 24/7 just to name a few ways, especially for our vulnerable students.

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