How many people would you guess you encounter on an average day? Have you ever given thought to what that number might be? Not just your family, friends or people living with you and not only the familiar people that you know or speak to on a daily basis. Who do you see? The barista. The cashier. The mail carrier. The people passing by on sidewalk and the children running or skateboarding past you.
It’s difficult in the crazy large world of ours to fathom a concrete number of the people sand faces we see in a day. We live in a sea of people, racing past at the speed of life. You see them- but few make a lasting impression or do something that warrants a second or prolonged glance.
That’s what makes the snap decision of Keith Avila, a driver man who slowed down to take a long hard look at the people and situation in front of him, extraordinary.
A few weeks ago, on December 26, 2016, Uber Driver Keith Avila noticed something about a passenger that was “off.” Avila picked up a 3 women and minutes into the trip, he began to suspect that one of the people in his backseat was underage victim of trafficking and used for sex crime. But he couldn’t be sure.
Can you imagine what must’ve gone through his mind? What might go through yours if you were in a similar situation?
- What if I’m wrong?
- What if she’s an adult- of age and consenting?
- Should I get involved?
- Will this put me in danger?
Not wanting to tip off his suspicions, Avila drove the women to their destination before calling to alert the police of his suspicions. “I looked (the 16-year-old) in the eyes. She had the face of innocence,” he said.
When the police arrived, Avila posted a video to social media to share his suspicions and the quick response of law enforcement. You can watch an excerpt of the video Here.
The police credit Avila for getting involved. Officers since discovered that the young passenger was in fact a minor reported as a missing person and the two women with her, suspected ages 25 and 31 were her pimps. The teen has since been placed in protective housing until she could be reunited with her family.
Avila says that when he first became a driver, his greatest fear was having an intoxicated passenger that would be sick in his car. He never imagined this scenario as a possibility.
Involvement is messy. It is inherent with risk.
But you and I understand that while we small feel small and uncertain on our own, together, and with a little faith, we can affect great change.
You know that you can’t write a single check to stamp out worldwide trafficking. The problem is too complex. Too vast. But, just like Keith Avila, you have decided to take the leap pf involvement. You have decided to look at the pain and suffering of women like the ones we share here on the Beauty for Ashes International site and pool your time and resources with others to help. You can share this post and our stories with your friends and family this Human Trafficking Awareness month and throughout the year to shine a light on an issue that the criminals who profit off of trafficking would rather remain overlooked and veiled in darkness and secrecy. You can sponsor one of the BFA women or children for just $300, $25 a month.
Everyone can make an impact- seemingly small ripple that in connection with the support of people like you will cause a wave of change for people who need it most.
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