Human trafficking, find a light when there’s no hope


Angelina Rifenburgh

A car with a zip tie on the door handle, a common way to tell that a vehicle is a target for sex or human trafficking, taken on Jan. 20, 2023.

Parents often encourage their children to help strangers in need, be kind to those around and trust their elders, but given the recent headlines about Andrew Tate, people should take caution.

“I believe older adults may not be seen as a threat to some students, which is why students like these are so trusting and vulnerable,” said school counselor Bryan Everett. “These students are so trusting and vulnerable that they do not realize older adults can be dangerous.”

Ways they might lure people in is by marking their car/vehicle with zip ties or tied-up baggies. The first thing to do is call the non-emergency hotline for the state and report the incident, according to Sex traffickers tend to target young adults, people who often travel alone, survivors of abuse, members of minority groups and people with disabilities.

“Sex trafficking can be diverse in nature and a multitude of factors can help identify potential victims,” said Officer Cameron Kolmer.

Several ways to detect if someone is trafficked; they live in poor conditions, answer questions in weird ways that may seem scripted or directed, signs of physical and psychological abuse or appear to be under 18 with a much older counterpart hovering by them, according to

Almost 21 million people are trafficked worldwide each year. Women and girls make up 71% of that population alone according to, published by the safe horizon organization.

“Nine times out of 10, it’s due to a poor upbringing and were struggling with mental health, never got the help they needed,” said senior Riley Harrington.

A recent example is on Dec. 29, 2022, former kickboxer Andrew Tate was detained on charges of organized crime, human trafficking, and rape. He reportedly tried to appeal his case, and on Jan. 10 his attempts to appeal his case were denied by the jury. The Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) has identified six victims of his trafficking, whose names have yet to be released to the public. 

“Andrew Tate degrades people for personal gain, which ultimately just shows how horribly insecure he is,” said junior Eva Montolvo. 

Fighting against trafficking is often harder than not, however, there are several ways to help from the comfort of your home. By looking at the call signs of someone being trafficked, organizing meetings and spreading awareness about it within the community, donate to anti-trafficking organizations, journalists can help by sharing personal stories and perspectives that may not be considered mainstream according to

“One attribute alone doesn’t necessarily mean the person is a victim. Law enforcement will look at the totality of their circumstances when interviewing the person to further investigation,” said Officer Kolmer.