Students of Timber Creek should be fully aware of what’s happening in their own community. The safety of students of all ages is of extreme importance and therefore it’s best to keep everyone informed on the events that concern them. This is a message to all students as a way to keep them protected and ways to keep them safe from a new, serious issue.

On Tuesday, Sept. 11, 15 women were rescued from three houses across Texas. These women were kidnapped victims of a sex trafficking scheme ran by a man named Tremont Blakemore, age 39. These houses were located in Dallas, Lancaster, and Fort Worth. The Fort Worth house, 12405 Yellow Wood Dr., had the most women held within, 11 of the victims exactly, and is located in the Woodland Springs neighborhood. The house that held these 11 kidnapped women was only 2.3 miles away from Timber Creek, an 8 minute drive from the student campus. The victims of this type of sex trafficking are most often ranging from the ages of 12 to 16.

Consistently, police and leaders of the community have given instructions on how to stay safe for both men and women in instances where potential crime could occur. Here are some tips that crime and safety specialists have found effective:

-Never walk alone. This one may seem obvious, but it includes more than just not going down dark alleys by yourself. Make sure to walk with a friend, and avoid being distracted by music, background noise, a phone, etc.

-Always be aware of your surroundings. Know where you’re going and the safest way to get there, particularly when moving about during hours of darkness. Walk/run in well-traveled, well-lit areas avoiding short cuts through alleys and parking lots.

-Make direct eye contact. Looking at the attacker in the face makes it easier to identify them in a police lineup, because of this, many attackers will be scared off in fear of being identified.

-Keep purses and bags tucked securely between your arms and body. Don’t overload yourself with packages and bags – it is distracting and it can make you look defenseless.

-Let someone know where you are. Tell a friend, or someone you trust, where your location is and make sure to plan how long it will take you to get to your destination.

According to FindLaw, “A conviction for holding a person in peonage carries potential fines and a maximum prison term of 20 years. If a death results or the violation included kidnapping, sexual abuse, or other aggravating factors, the maximum punishment increases to life imprisonment.”

The victims of these crimes are usually young teens, and are potentially kept in these prostitution rings for many years of their life, and most recovered victims are commonly abused and beaten, as well as forced into taking drugs.

Police say that human trafficking is a growing issue in North Texas, and that the crimes targeting young girls in the North Texas area is increasing. Detective Manny Reyes, a member of the Fort Worth Police Department and the North Texas Trafficking Task Force, told North Texas CBS 11 News, the number of young girls that fall prey to these crimes is on the rise lately. “We’re seeing more [human trafficking] recently. We’ve made more arrests recently… in the last month or so than before.”