Rises in sex trafficking cause unsafe situations

Alexis Miles and Tori LaRocca

In 2018, the national human trafficking hotline recieved 41,088 contacts and 10,949 cases of human trafficking. 

“Put your phone away and be aware of your surroundings and what’s around you,” said school resource officer Brad Lightfoot. “If anything feels weird go back where there’s people at and wait.”

Senior Jackson Neal is cautious and also takes extra steps to ensure his safety when he’s alone out in public. 

“When I’m walking I usually have a light on my phone or wearing bright clothing,” Neal said. “I just walk back and forth with my arm swinging so people know I’m there. If it’s super quiet I’ll play music on my phone.”

Neal hasn’t experienced anything unsafe personally, but he’s seen others in an unsafe situation. 

“I was at Walmart all the way out in Lee’s Summit,” Neal said. “A whole bunch of cars slowed down super fast because I guess a guy had a knife. A few minutes later a whole bunch of cop cars came rushing in. It was in a shady area.”

Senior Stephanie Kerst goes to Lenexa, Kansas for competitive cheer six to seven times a week. She feels like this increases her chances of being in an unsafe situation. Kerst is required to wear spandex and a sports bra at practice. 

“I feel like people know what car I drive and know that I don’t like to wear clothes,” Kerst said. 

Although these things happen often, sophomore Audrey Menzies believe there’s no reason to go into a situation already feeling unsafe.

“Not everyone is out to get you and there are still good people in this world,” Menzies said. “There’s no reason to walk into a situation already feeling scared or already placing judgments on where you’re at.”