Aware of Our Surroundings
Three times in the past month, I have driven by a ‘massage parlor’ that has its open signs on late at night. Its windows and door are closed or blocked, so you cannot see in, all that is visible is the sign with the establishment’s name and two neon open signs. I have not seen anyone go in or out, and it is on a busy street with other businesses and recreation nearby. Knowing that human trafficking cases are often found at so-called massage parlors, this boarded up business makes me very uneasy.
Make that phone call, I told myself last night, or was it the Lord laying this burden on my heart? Is that you, God? Please give me the courage to call if you will.
Upon arriving home I looked for the Polaris Project hotline number. Polaris Project exists to, “disrupt the conditions that allow human trafficking to thrive in our society.” I heard about this hotline around the same time I learned about human trafficking a couple years ago, but I’d never used it until last night.
“Polaris Project, how can I help you?”
“Yes, I’d like to report a tip.”
“Okay what can you tell us about the situation?”
… I explained the massage parlor as above…
“Well thank you so much for calling tonight, it sounds like there isn’t enough information for us to go off of but if you see anything else…”
I was discouraged. How am I supposed to safely get any more information? What information would be more useful? So I asked, and my kind operator explained some of the red flags to look for. These include: Workers who don’t appear to be there by will, people coming and going at strange hours or through back doors, and open signs being on at very late hours. He directed me to the Polaris Project website to learn more about recognizing signs of potential trafficking victims. http://www.polarisproject.org/human-trafficking/recognizing-the-signs
Making that phone call last night has inspired me to be more aware of my surroundings, the people I meet, and the places I drive by. It has also inspired me to be bolder in speaking up against situations that cause me spiritual discomfort such as that one. I will continue to check on that massage parlor and call in with more information if I find any. I will read the list of signs also so that my knowledge is always growing to help me help others. And I will always keep the hotline number in my phone contacts. Please join me.