Do students at LHS know how to protect themselves?

Students may be targets of human trafficking without even knowing it.

Sarah Blankenship

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Whether it’s going to a concert, a Chiefs game, or shopping with friends, these are moments when students may be in danger. The scary thing is, they may not realize it. The staff was shocked to learn in a poll that over 30% of the respondents thought there were no dangers in our area at all. The Bell staff discussed the best ways for students to be prepared because they may be targets of human trafficking.

Graphic by Alyah Craig

The biggest concern The Bell staff discussed is that students are distracted and aren’t even aware of their surroundings. We stare at our phones or have earbuds or headphones on while we’re alone in public places. Being aware at all times is critical for students to protect themselves.

The Bell staff was also concerned that many students have the mindset, ‘this could never happen to me.’

Liberty is generally considered a safe place, but as the population grows, it is becoming less and less safe. We’re surrounded by a hub for human trafficking in Kansas City where major highways go to and from each coast.

The reality is, even if teens are aware 90% of the time, there’s still a 10% chance where someone is not. That’s dangerous.

Another misconception The Bell staff noticed in our poll and interviews is students think only females can be taken.

That’s wrong. Human traffickers take both men and women.

Another concern is students don’t get enough education from their parents or the school about this issue.

A lot of parents have trackers on their child’s phone, but that isn’t enough. If this topic isn’t discussed, students won’t be vigilant about personal safety.

This leaves students to be in dangerous situations alone. Nowadays traveling in pairs isn’t even enough, traffickers have been known to take pairs too. Teens should travel in groups.

Overall, the staff agreed self-defense class should be required for all students. This class could be a P.E. credit.

Our school also has the Safety 360 day, but it doesn’t cover human trafficking. It must be added to the roster of all the other safety classes.

With these changes, we sincerely hope students at LHS will be safer.