Human Trafficking Awareness Month

Audrina Natividad, News Editor

January marks the month of Human Trafficking awareness month and students at Ridgeview High School are bringing awareness to the topic by discussing different aspects of the subject matter.

Human trafficking is an enormous problem when it comes to the streets of Bakersfield, but how much did students at Ridgeview know of this topic? Students were asked to give what their knowledge is of human trafficking. 

“I know some but not much”, said ninth grader Savannah Marney. “Human trafficking is a person using a type of force to try and get something out of a person”. 

The most common ages for human trafficking are twelve to nineteen year-olds meaning students are the targeted age. Students realize the severity of this and acknowledge the precautions they have to take.

“Knowing I live in a hotspot for human trafficking does make me nervous and feel unsafe”, explained freshman, Lizette Vasquez. “Living here makes me want  to be more aware of my surroundings, more careful.” 

The common misconception with human trafficking is how most victims are kidnapped and all though that can be true its least likely to actually happen. Traffickers use manipulative tactics to lure their victims in, by asking personal questions of your home life, to promising you a bright and better future. 

“I wouldn’t really say you could notice these traits or couldn’t”. Marney is furthermore to how traffickers have gotten really experienced at this tactic, “so you would just have to try and see your way through it possibly.”

Although the majority wouldn’t notice manipulative tactics there’s still ways to prevent yourself from getting trafficked. The way most traffickers approach their victims is right in the open at a public place like a mall or a bus station. Meaning you’re surrounded by others most of the time. 

“They can avoid temptations because human traffickers will probably try to manipulate them[victims] with things they might like,” Freshman, Esabella Serrano brings up. 

The appalling thing about human trafficking is how there are people who were trafficked still living a normal life as one would. Except now they’ve been manipulated by the fear of their trafficker and won’t reveal anything about their situation. Most students wouldn’t have even been aware of this scheme. 

“Again I did not know that, but it does make maybe a bit more sense since they are now in fear they will do whatever the person wants”, Marney describes, “cause they have known and will be more in control to them.” 

These students now have a greater understanding of the significance of human trafficking but how are we able to bring this knowledge to others around us? Students suggest that parents should do more to bring awareness to their children.

Serrano explains the importance of parents and adults bringing this topic into conversation more. “It could teach them that these things do happen and can happen to them and that they need to put their safety into thought before they do something.” 

Even though beforehand these students’ knowledge wasn’t extensive they’ve done what most people should: learn. “I do feel like this topic should be talked about more with children and teenagers since we are mostly the targets because we are all more vulnerable and naive. It could also save a life if we know the signs and are educated about the topic.”