As social media continues to rise, a lot of people have become cynical about the benefits of these digital platforms.
Sure, they make it easier to communicate with people all over the world, but many have become disillusioned with its other uses.
Many people forget that social media has another important function: getting essential information out as quickly as possible.
Recently, users have been turning to Facebook and other social platforms to warn about everyday dangers, like this fire department that warned people about the dangers of sleeping with your phone charging in your bed.
On July 6, 2017, Haley Oscar took to Facebook to warn her friends, family, and other community members about something scary that happened to her while she was lying by the lake tanning: a strange man approached her and started asking inappropriate questions.
Haley realized this man might be in a sex trafficking ring, so she told all her friends to be vigilant.
Haley posted her experience on Facebook, hoping it would reach other people in her community.
Within just a few weeks, her post had gone completely viral. As of publishing time, it has over 10,000 shares.
So something not okay happened today while I was tanning at the lake… a man in his late 40s kept walking back and forth behind me and then approached me and tried to talk to me about my tattoos when he was clearly staring at my a**… but that’s not the freaky part.
No matter how many times I asked he would not leave me alone. He was standing at an angle for a perfect view of everything but my face and was asking strange questions like:
“Do you have any friends?”
“Do you have a lot of people who care about you?”
“If you have friends, where are they?”
“Do you have good credit? What is your credit?”
“How far of a walk is it from here to where you live?”
“What high school do you go to?”
“You have a kid so you’re obviously sexually active, do you enjoy pain like that tattoo?”
Shout out to my best friend Mandi Fuentes for calling and dropping her life to help me get rid of him. The second she called he practically ran away.
He claimed he was from Waukegan and was here by himself. He spoke broken English and I’m almost 99% sure he was a sex trafficker based on the questions he was asking me.
I obviously didn’t answer these questions, I ignored him and kept asking him to leave me alone. I was terrified to stand up and go to my car because 1. It’s a lot easier to grab someone standing up than it is laying down and 2. Because I didn’t want him to know what car I drove or to follow me home. Once he left he continued to circle simmons island for another 20 minutes before he actually left.
Please be careful ladies, if you go to the lake alone make sure someone knows where you are and bring protection! I don’t think a man has EVER made me that uncomfortable and scared for my safety.
Following the incident — and a few others in the community — the local police of Kenosha, Wisconsin, issued the above statement.
According to Milwaukee news station TMJ4, “Authorities say the I-94 corridor between Milwaukee and Chicago is becoming more of a target for human trafficking, because it leads to a lot of destinations.”
The local school district also posted a warning on their Facebook page.
Lots of people hear about things like human trafficking and assume, “Oh, that’ll never happen to me.” However, it’s important for everyone to be aware of the risks.
The day after her original post, Haley provided the update above.
Her friends commented with messages of support, saying things like, “Omg?! I am just now seeing all this and I am SO very sorry that this happened! So scary!!!!! And so glad you’re ok!” and “Glad you are ok, love you honey. Please be careful.”
Haley then shared this second update, letting everyone know that the police had been in touch with her.
Unfortunately, when Haley originally wen to the police, they didn’t think she had enough information — but with the support of friends and family (and strangers) on Facebook, the police realized that Haley’s case was serious and that they should open a formal investigation.
In her third update, Haley provided information to people in her area about human trafficking resources.
If you live elsewhere and want to learn more about human trafficking, please visit the National Human Trafficking Hotline website. If you’re ever in a situation where you feel unsafe, call 911 immediately.
Please SHARE this article with your friends to help them learn more about the risks of human trafficking!