AVOIDING THE NIGHTMARE, Part 26c: Myths and Misconceptions v. Reality About Human Trafficking

Hiawassee, Georgia

August 7, 2019

As we return to the Man After Midnight human trafficking issue, another facet of this study concerns  myths and misconceptions that even educated people assume to be true. As I  continue to ‘binge-read’ books and articles and watch movies and documentaries about the issue, I am more astounded than ever over the truth of the statement “Knowledge is power”, stated by a  philosopher named Sir Francis Bacon. Who knew that a simple, sixteenth-century statement would prove especially true about the twenty-first century pandemic of human trafficking?

To follow are five myths and misconceptions about human trafficking contrasted with their realities that I found on the  National Human Trafficking Hotline, operated by Polaris.

Listed from #5 to #1, in order of the least to most surprising, are truths following the myths and misconceptions:

#5: While some may assume that trafficking occurs only in brothels, strip clubs, massage parlors, and some bars and only overseas, the reality is that it also goes on in some restaurants, cleaning services, construction companies, factories here in the United States!

#4: While some might assume that victims are captured physically, the reality is that some traffickers are so cunning that their victims might deny that they are being trafficked.

#3: Although many of us might assume traffickers are interested in only women and girls, statistics show that over half are men and boys, especially those from the LGBT community. 

#2: As awful as it is to consider, even sweethearts, spouses, and parents have chained their loved ones to them through psychological threats.

#1: Perhaps the biggest surprise of all is that while the term ‘trafficking’ may imply  physical transference of the victim from Points A to B, such is not always the case as it is with ‘human smuggling‘. In reality, victims can be recruited and trafficked in their own home towns with promises of money, travel, or glamorous careers. Even worse, victims are trafficked in their own homes!

Coming up, Parts 26d and 26e of “Avoiding The Nightmare” — tips for recognizing and staying safe from online predators and protecting our children from them.

Have any of you survived an encounter with a trafficker or escaped from one?  If so, where were you when it happened? How long did it take you to realize what was going on?

I’d love to hear from you! Drop me a line in the comments box, below.




LIVING THE DREAM, Part 13: “It Could Happen — in an Author’s Twisted Mind!”


Comfort, Texas

Everywhere I go, I get ideas for future novels. Could the situations I’m seeing  on the Silver Screen of my mind actually happen in the way I imagine them? Who knows? Many of my ideas remind me of the punch line from comedienne, Judy Tenuta: “It could happen!”

Sometimes, if I can’t find the facts at my fingertips, I write it as I see it, even though, in reality, something may happen in a different way. Well, for dramatic effect, I find a way to make it make sense.

For example, in 2010 — or was it 2011? — I went to the Edna Gladney Center hoping to  find someone of 1950s vintage when “Sylvia” in From Her Mother’s Arms delivers her baby. Would she really have been allowed to nurse her newborn? Was that decision left up to the nurse? Because no one was around who knew anything about those days, I never found out whether this was true or not, even when I searched the Internet.

Still, whether it actually happened that way, how much more dramatic would it have been for a young mother to be allowed to bond with her baby only to have her taken away and placed in the arms of strangers? I wrote this book visualizing it as a movie. So, I made up a fictitious name for the actual home and hospital where “Sylvia” (the first name Sybil assumes during her stay at the maternity home after her father fills her with shame and banishes her from the house.)

Authors like me have dark and twisty minds. A few weeks ago, when Jeff and I were checking out a motorhome that had looked so good online that we were halfway tempted to plunk down a deposit for it sight unseen, the actual unit the reps showed us was a different story. Someone had painted over the walls. Probably to cover up blood splatters, I told the friends who accompanied us.

Hearing so much about the ‘dark Web’. I’ve started cooking up a fictional scenario capable of keeping my readers up at night.

Or — whoa! — what about this RV park where we live? What sinister goings-on might go on after nightfall? Of course, I would change the names of the innocent, but the guilty as sin would know exactly who they are.

And what about the topic of Witness Protection? That holds a world of possibilities for an author.

I can see it now — my web browser winding up as Exhibit A in some courtroom because of the weird sites I visit for research for my suspense novels.

And, as the saying goes, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.