• Brooke Ruhl

5 Ways for College Students to Protect Themselves from Human Trafficking

Updated: Mar 7

College students are inherently more at risk for human trafficking. Here are five easy and simple ways to stay safe!

Photo by Paul Garaizar

1. Be vigilant of surroundings & put down your distractions

Human traffickers are constantly looking for the right opportunity to obtain victims. This is why it is important to always be aware and cautious, especially as a college-aged student. Traffickers hunt at some of the most common places for college students to be. This includes parking garages, bars, tailgates, and even just campus, especially at night. The best way to protect yourself is to always be vigilant. Look at the people around you, check the cars parked beside you, and always walk with your head up and alert. People with common distractions, like cellphones, unfortunately become easier targets as they can be taken by surprise.

2. Avoid walking alone or being alone in public places

College can include a lot of social activity, as well as a lot of times when you have the opportunity to be on your own. One person is a target, so trying your hardest to travel in groups is very important. Implementing a buddy system is one of the biggest defenses against human trafficking. Walking each other to class, driving each other home, and going to the bathroom in groups are some of the easiest ways to stay safe.

3. Be safe on social media

Social media has become a place where college students can communicate with loved ones away, as well as make new friends and network. Because of the lack of privacy on social media, it is important to monitor what you are sharing and who you are sharing it with. Understanding location settings and location badges is important. You may want to share your life with your friends, but other people, dangerous people, may see it too.

4. Utilize your technology

Why location services and looking down at your phone can be dangerous, your phone can also help keep you safe. Allowing at least 3 of your friends to see your location allows friends to keep check on their friends. Especially on college campuses, having 3 people you trust completely know where you are at all times can potentially save your life. Most rideshare companies also have a feature to share your ride with a loved one. Learn how to share your Uber ride here.

5. Trust your instincts

The most important way to stay safe is to always trust that little voice inside your head. Your gut and your intuition can often tell you you’re in danger before you even process the situation. If you think someone is sketchy or suspicious, trust your gut. You might be wrong and come off like a jerk, but if you are right it could save your life. It’s better to apologize for being safe then regret not being cautious.

Now that you've seen these 5 easy and simple steps, share this link with a friend, and share your location with three people close to you that you trust!

Learn how to share your location here

@Brooke_Ruhl and use the hashtag #BRuhly_Trafficked


Brooke Ruhl

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Brooke Ruhl

University of Nevada Reno

2020 by Brooke Ruhl.