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The+Blue+Campaign+raises+awareness+for+sex+trafficking+and+gives+information+on+the+issue+%28Photo+courtesy+of+Allie+Weber%29.

Allie Weber

The Blue Campaign raises awareness for sex trafficking and gives information on the issue (Photo courtesy of Allie Weber).

On February 2nd, the NFL celebrated its 54th Super Bowl, and while the nation was preoccupied with the commercials and half-time show, something frightful was happening right under their noses: human trafficking. 

“It flies under the radar a lot, and it’s not something you can see clearly. It’s definitely a problem; if one of my sisters was a victim, it would crush me, and I don’t know what I would do,” said junior Connor Martinez.

Human trafficking is the action of illegally transporting people to another country or area for the purpose of forced labor or sexual exploitation. While this would seem to be quite apparent, it happens more frequently than we think it does. In fact, in Greenville, it is quite common. Because of our unique location between Charlotte and Atlanta, both of which have major airports, and an immense interstate system, traffickers are able to escape authorities’ grasp, preventing them from saving the victims. 

“It’s growing in Greenville, which is scary because it’s so close to where we are,” said junior Taylor Knox.

One of the most common days for human trafficking to occur is on Super Bowl Sunday, at the Atlanta airport. While everyone is distracted by the game, (or commercials, whatever floats your boat), traffickers are able to steal young girls, women, and occasionally boys away from their lives. Sadly, a lot of the time, there is nothing we can do about it. This seems to be a major issue these days; we can’t pull ourselves away from our phones, television, video games, or any other technology and see what’s happening around us. For a majority of the trafficking situations, it could’ve been prevented if either the victim or a bystander had looked up from their phone to simply analyze the environment. 

“Big crowds, alcohol, and parties all contribute to it. People stop paying attention or are under the influence and aren’t aware of their surroundings,” said Knox. 

For lots of girls, we’ve heard the lecture about a thousand times: travel in groups, carry your pepper spray, park under a light, and whatever else it may be. This can prevent it from happening, but, God forbid, if it does happen to someone, we need to be aware of the signs. Traffic victims will usually not be able to come and go as they wish, own few personal possessions, and show signs of poor hygiene, malnourishment, and sexual abuse. 

This battle affects everyone; by being aware of the signs, and especially our environments, we may be able to help someone escape from this traumatizing tragedy.   

“Talking about [trafficking] and bringing awareness to it, like in schools or in businesses, can always help. Giving women ways they can stay safe is important so they know what to do,” said junior Éva Giguere. 

You can call the National Sex Trafficking line to report any issues or possible traffickers at 1 (888) 373-7888.