Raise the Alarm: Protect Yourself + Others from Human Trafficking
There’s a special evil in the abuse and exploitation of the most innocent and vulnerable. The victims of [the] sex trade see little of life before they see the very worst of life – an underground of brutality and lonely fear. Those who create these victims and profit from their suffering must be severely punished. Those who patronize this industry debase themselves and deepen the misery of others. And governments that tolerate this trade are tolerating a form of slavery.
President George W. Bush
New York, New York
September 23, 2003
If you’ve had your ears on during the last decade, you’ve heard of human trafficking. This particularly horrific crime and scourge on our world has crept to every shore, and there is something that every last one of us can do about it.
Someone who is doing quite a bit about it is Sean Morrison, founder and CEO of Morrison Security, Inc. The national security firm conduct investigations across the U.S., and provides elite bodyguards, canine drug and explosive detection units, armed security guards and more.
Within his 500-plus person security firm, Mr. Morrison has created a pro-bono human trafficking task force (Operation Restoring Innocence) that has been credited with safe rescue and recovery of over 85 victims of human trafficking.
He is here to share tips on how all of us—women and men, no matter our age, location or parental status—can be part of wiping this pox from our planet and our communities.
[Italics mine throughout text.]
Constance Dunn: I understand you are a security expert and in this field, you have a lot of information to share. Can you share the most indispensable top tip or two on how a young girl or woman can avoid being a victim of human trafficking?
Sean Morrison: Yes it is imperative for girls to be extremely aware of their surroundings especially when going into social engagements meaning parties and the like. If you feel like you are in danger you may really be in danger and protect yourself by leaving immediately or don’t communicate with strangers. Our recommendation to all girls is to be careful of whom you are communicating with (i.e. strangers via the Internet or social media) as you never really know who they are or what the real intent is.
They need to never let their guard down, even when with friends and family members in social activities. A very common technique is the drugging/or spiking of a soft drink or alcohol drink. Always tell a family member or friend where you were going to and with whom in case you do become a missing person.
Trust your instincts if you feel nervous about a place or situation and get out.
Constance Dunn: I feel the sisterhood is powerful, and women can be a great resource in protecting other girls and women from these monsters. Your thoughts?
Sean Morrison: Yes that is absolutely correct. It starts at home with mothers and grandmothers and aunts and older sisters, do not be embarrassed to talk about this plight, parents will often talk about drug prevention but fail to protect their children from falling victim to this real threat. We always tell families to talk with their children about the real threat that exists with sex trafficking of minors and explain to them that there are predators out there that will drug them or talk to kidnap them.
Also train your family and friends mentally; tell them that God forbid they should fall victim to this, they should do everything they can to escape and to contact their parents or police. If they only have a few seconds, simply dial 911 on a phone and put it down and it can alert police of their location. If they see a fire alarm, pull it without hesitation.
Those same moms and grandmothers and aunts and sisters need to be aware that this predator danger does exist and our loved ones are all potentially at risk. They need to be on the lookout to make sure that normal activity or behavior doesn’t change with their minor daughter. If your child gets a new iPhone or iPad or gym shoes for example that you didn’t buy, question them, where did the gifts come from? And, be prepared to detect deception and question and respond. Often girls are lured into sex trafficking over a slower period of time and there are often signs along the way.
We have female investigators at work within our company and they are terrific role models. In your conversations with your family, it is critical to point out that there are MANY females in roles such as teachers and doctors and lawyers and police officers, reporters and nurses etc. and that’s what they can aspire to be, no female has to lower their expectations, and get into a bad situation.
Constance Dunn: Good men everywhere are appalled and angry about human trafficking. Do you have any advice for men who want to join the battle against human trafficking? Is there something they can be doing in their everyday lives to protect girls and women, and bring these vermin to justice?
Sean Morrison: The advice for women also applies for men; for fathers, for uncles, and for big brothers. We must be vigilant and we must be on the lookout for signs that something may be awry. Do not be embarrassed to talk to your daughters and even your sons about the potential threat of becoming a victim of a predator unwillingly placed in the trafficking world of child exploitation.
Explain to your sons and your daughters that this is a crime that is blind to race, religion, gender and blind to social status. Every minor is a potential victim of a predator. Also encourage them to tell you about any friends or any other minors they know that may be ensnared in this world. The best way to prevent sex trafficking is to shine a light on it; the general population needs to learn about the real danger. It is vital that we raise the general overall awareness of this danger.
Constance Dunn: Where can I learn more?