Summer is near, giving students time to travel and explore overseas and in the U.S. There is nothing better than traveling to places you have never been and diving into a new culture full of language, food, history and night life. Every traveler needs to be informed on how to stay safe while traveling in this country or abroad. Women, particularly young women, need to be aware of dangers associated with the worldwide sex trafficking trade. The Washington Times called sex trafficking in the U.S an epidemic. Sex trafficking takes place in the largest and smallest cities all over the world and everyone is at risk for abduction if they don’t play it safe.
This is a personal and passionate topic for me. Last June, my friend Lauren Spiere, a student at Indiana University, vanished without a trace after a night of partying in Indiana. Almost a year later, she remains missing and no one knows what happened to her. There things we can all do to avoid and escape dangerous situations while traveling.
Here are some pointers to help you stay safe no matter where you travel this summer:
1. Don’t Travel Alone – No one, especially females, should EVER travel alone. Use the buddy system just like you learned in kindergarten. Having someone with you at all times is vital for your safety while traveling. Also, make sure to always inform someone where you are going to be at all times.
2. Get Your LADY GAGA On – Practice your poker face. Be aware of your body language. You never want to show that you are an intimidated foreigner who could be taken advantage of. Make sure to always look confident and prepare yourself to the best of your ability about your surroundings. If you are going to ask questions make sure to go into a populated cafe, convenient store, or landmark to ask for assistance and not the local man on the corner.
3. Blend In – Everyone always wants to dress to impress while on vacation, but you don’t want to stand out that much and catch the wrong person’s attention. Don’t dress in a way that makes you stand out much from the locals or makes your appear an easy target. Never bring your favorite and most expensive jewelry to wear while traveling. The consequences of it being taken or lost are not worth it.
4. Beware of the Car – If you are traveling with a car THIS IS IMPORTANT! If you are about to get into your car and someone corners you and says, “Give me your keys and get in the car,” that is the LAST thing you should do. Instead, throw your keys as far as you can and instantly the predator will turn their head towards the direction of your keys. Immediately SCREAM and start running in the opposite direction. This will completely throw the predator off guard and give you a chance to escape safely. This is also a good tactic if someone follows you home at night and can be done instead of going into your apartment or house.
Always Trust Your Gut – If your initial reaction is to feel skeptical or uncomfortable with a certain situation, follow that feeling! Our gut instincts can give us the most vital and accurate sign of danger. Always listen to yourself.