Recently, I was at an international airport in southwestern U.S. There, in the women’s washroom, I found this sign on the inside of the stall door.
Wait – what?
I wasn’t sure if I felt safer or in danger. I suppose I felt both.
Two thoughts simultaneously passed through my mind: That’s great that there’s enough awareness to warrant this. But is it really so much of a problem here that they need this?
Does human trafficking happen more often here than other places? Or are people just trying to ensure as much safety as possible? It is great though, that this service is available.
Later, I wondered if the same sign existed in the men’s washroom. Both men and women – and children, of course – can be victims of human trafficking, but it probably happens to women more than men. If the perpetrator is a man, could it be dangerous for him to see the same helpline? But then again, maybe he would already know about this resource centre.
For the helpline to really be serious, there should probably be a phone in the women’s washroom. What are the chances of a victim of human trafficking carrying their own cellphone or having access to any phone at all? Presumably the perpetrator would be aware that the victim would try to call for help and/or escape – depending on the circumstances of the victim, of course… I for one, know that I didn’t call or ask for help in my own (very different) situation.
Long after leaving the washroom, I kept thinking about the sign. I was a backpacking, female, solo traveler. Suddenly I felt less safe, and more aware of my surroundings. A familiar feeling, unfortunately.
I felt sad and angry about the need of having such a sign, and yet also optimistic that there at least seemed to be some awareness and help for those who need it.
Later, I looked it up and found out that of the calls made in 2015, 18.3% of calls were from California, and 1.4% were from Nevada, where I was, so the next question would be – Are these signs found more often in California? But that’s for another time.
Important Resources (just a few of many):