Missing Okla. teen feared trafficked: What you can do
It’s perhaps the latest among a slew of such cases around the nation. A Weatherford, Okla., teen has been missing since Oct. 15. Authorities report that Jaray Mickell Wilson, 16 years old (pictured), was feared a runaway until her father learned that she’d told friends she owed a man known as “G” $700 and was being threatened if she didn’t pay up.
If you’ve seen Wilson lately or see her in the future in the vicinity of Oklahoma City, call the Custer County Sheriff via 580-323-1616. Find the latest news about her case (as of October 28) here.
Such a situation as Wilson’s is emblematic of many Truckers Against Trafficking‘s Kylla Leeburg spoke of this past weekend in Kansas City at the Truck Driver Social Media Convention, where she urged drivers to continue to be involved in the efforts to fight trafficking rings operating throughout the United States. Force, fraud and coercion are their methods, luring unsuspecting teens into their sphere of orbit in various ways. Fortunately, now that TAT exists, there’s a national hotline for drivers to utilize to report suspected trafficking when they see it on truck stop lots nationwide: 888-373-7888. If a “working girl” out on the lot or elsewhere looks underage, do everyone a favor call it in. The more of these rings that can be busted up on account of your efforts, the safer all of America’s daughters (and sons in some cases) will be.
For info on a trafficking ring successfully busted open by a trucker’s call, watch TAT’s primary training video documentary below or at the organization’s website if you haven’t seen it already.
Any information related to the appearance and identity of the suspected victim and/or her traffickers is helpful, Leeburg noted in her talk yesterday. Things like license plate numbers of a pimp’s car, the car’s make and model, careful descriptions of the people involved are all germane.
“You are examples to other Americans,” Leeburg told assembled drivers yesterday. “For truckers in three short years [since TAT was founded] to be ranked no. 8 nationally for calling in tips on human trafficking cases — that is huge. I’m proud to be associated with the trucking industry and am proud to be associated with TAT.”
More that you can do, she said:
Distribute materials to your friends — and safety directors so that they can implement training. Ask your safety director to show the video and distribute materials to drivers. That gets things done far more than a random phone call. Use your social media influence…. And next time you hear the term lot lizard, use that as a chance to bring up [the reality of trafficking in] the conversation. [As much as 80 percent] of the prostitutes out there … were beaten and abused when they were young people.
On Overdrive Extra, Randy Grider recently wrote about the TAT organization with a personal anecdote as well. Read his story here.