Importance of being aware; Harford County sex trafficking

KENDALL SCHUBERT, Business Manager

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 Sex trafficking is not a new phenomenon, and the means by which people become victims continues to change.

     An alleged occurrence in Harford County with an egg on a windshield of a car has drawn concern as a form of trafficking. The goal of using the egg is to get a driver to turn on his/her wipers so that the egg will smear, ultimately causing the person driving not to be able to see. They would need to pull over, giving the attackers the opportunity to take them.

     Former North Harford student, Katie Bemb is an author of the book “Voices Against Sex Slavery in America.” She explains, “Ignorance is the most dangerous thing, in my mind — which is why pushing for awareness of human trafficking is so important.” Being simply unaware of your surroundings can put many into a very vulnerable state. Bemb also 

     Another alleged occurrence in Harford County is a muddy rag placed on the windshield wipers, also in hopes of turning the wipers on to obstruct the view of the driver.

Junior Caroline Ulmer says, “it’s really scary that this is what it’s come to and especially that it’s happening in our own area,” Ulmer also thinks that being vulnerable is part of the reason teenagers are taken so easily.  “As a young girl who just got my license, I’m scared because it happens to us the most and were really vulnerable to it,” said the eleventh grader.

 Junior Lucas Sexton believes “teenagers need to pay close attention to those who are around, especially girls.” Officials warn that sex trafficking can happen to anyone no matter age or gender. Sexton also thinks “people should be careful even when pumping gas because can easily take you then, especially at night.”

 Officials warn that other possible ways sex traffickers catch their victims are by hiding under cars or grabbing someone from behind. They recommend having a security guard or worker walk you to your car. Here in Harford County, there is a large overlap between opioid use and sex trafficking. According to Bemb a local bail bondsman was sentenced 70 years in prison for trafficking women on backpage.com. 

     College campus’ such as the University of North Carolina Wilmington and Coastal Carolina University use emergency blue light phones to deter attacks. These are placed around a campus, press the button and campus police or security will be there in minutes.

 Freshman Sierra McManus feels that “people aren’t as educated as they should be on this topic.” It’s not a lesson taught in most schools, and unless you watch the news it’s not a topic that’s heard. She thinks “people should be as safe as possible when parking their car, getting out for things like gas or food,” because sex traffickers plan out almost all possible movement their victim will have, said McManus. Bemb explains that the most common tactic for sex traffickers to lure their victims is “through ‘Romeos’ or older boyfriends who romance younger women.” To her, the most important thing to do is to “Educate yourself, and don’t be afraid to talk about this issue. It’s not just an urban issue. It’s not just a foreign issue. Human trafficking can happen anywhere, to anyone.”