Human Trafficking

Victim-Proof Your Life from Human Trafficking

Peggysue WellsBy Peggysue Wells6 Minutes

Book excerpt from Slavery in the Land of the Free: A Student’s Guide to Modern Day Slavery by Theresa Flores and Peggysue Wells

Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased 

at the price of chains and slavery? 

… but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!

~ Patrick Henry

It was a recurring nightmare. What choice would Theresa make if she could save a life by sacrificing her own? In the dream she was confronted in a dark alley, a convenience store, or parking garage. Would she jump in front of a bullet for a stranger? If needed, could she freely give her life for another?

Theresa’s dream became reality when every day for two years she had to make the decision. Would she tarnish her family’s name? Allow her siblings and parents to be harmed? As a child faced with life-threatening decisions, she chose her family. Believing she was protecting those she loved, Theresa endured sexual slavery. Despite the horror, she never wavered in her decision.

Stay Safe

Theresa’s fate does not have to be yours. Here are proactive behaviors that young people can do to stay safe.

  • Treat people, and yourself, with dignity.
  • Stay away from questionable settings.
  • Always ask, “What if?” What if my drink gets drugged? What if the ride home he is offering doesn’t take me home?
  • Be watchful and aware of the people around you. Put distance between you and anyone that makes you feel like something is odd – not quite right.
  • Never participate in sexting. Never send revealing, suggestive, or inappropriate photos of yourself.
  • Block and do not receive inappropriate photos from others.
  • Avoid pornography. Be aware of what you allow your eyes to see and your mind to focus on. Remember that porn changes your brain, ruins your relationships, is addictive, and will control you. Pornography is the root of sex trafficking.
  • Create a group of friends and agree together to stay in school, be productive with your lives, and remain untangled from drugs, alcohol, and pornography.
  • Add a computer nanny to your computer to protect from accidentally coming across porn sites.
  • Block and clear apps from your phone that are porn related.
  • Have a ‘no tolerance’ stance on porn, bullying, and human trafficking.
  • Use your computer in common rooms of your home where family members are aware of what you are viewing.
  • Give your computer and phone passwords to your parents. Agree that your parent can periodically check your history.
  • Have conversations with your parent about who you communicate with.
  • Say no to anything that makes you feel uncomfortable.
  • Say no to anything you don’t want to do.
  • Make certain a parent or other trusted adult always knows where you are.
  • Always carry identification.
  • Install GPS tracking on your cellphone.
  • Limit overnighters. You sleep better at home in your own bed.


Partner with your parents and the trustworthy adults in your life to keep you safe from sexual predators, molesters, and those who traffic human beings. Stay connected and help your parents know:

  • your world and your interests
  • who you spend time with
  • where you are
  • where you are going
  • the address and phone number where you will be
  • that you are asleep in your bed at night
  • that parents are there if you spend the night with friends
  • where to drop you off
  • when to pick you up

Be thankful that your parents care when they are involved in school activities and extracurricular events.

Exercise Caution

Here are red flags that warn you are placing yourself in potential danger:

  • Conversations you don’t want your parent to know about
  • Relationship(s) you keep secret
  • Going places you know are off-limits
  • Giving in when someone says, “It’s okay, your mom/dad won’t know.”
  • Anyone that tells you not to tell your parent about something
  • Going against family rules and standards
  • Accepting gifts you won’t tell your parent about
  • Involvement with drugs and alcohol
  • Sexual activity outside of marriage
  • Anything that requires you to lie, hide, or keep secret

Summary: Anyone that purposefully deceives and harms another is a bully and is responsible for their actions. While it may not be possible to completely bully-proof your life, you can be proactive with wise lifestyle choices.

Freedom Fighters: Live wisely and your example will encourage others to make good choices.

If you need help, call the Human Trafficking Hotline (toll-free): 1-888-373-7888

For more information go to

You can also find resources and help at Theresa’s website,

Order your copy of The Slave Across the Street by Theresa Flores and Peggysue Wells