On majority of college campuses recently there have been reports of a human trafficking with the cover of a group talking about the "Mother of God." There were reports on Twitter about groups going around to girls, who were sitting alone and asking them to listen to the talk about God the Mother and then ask for contact information so they can talk to you about it again. Majority of people believe that something like human trafficking could never happen to them. That they would never fall for something like this and end up getting pulled into a trafficking ring. I firmly believed this my entire life, until I realized that I was nearly a victim of human trafficking.
I have always been incredibly aware of my surroundings, and have been a firm believer in the fact that people never have the best intentions. I was taught before I came to college how to defend myself if anything ever did happen, how people act before an event happens, and what to do if you’re being followed. While all my friends joined Tinder, I avoid the app because the thought of meeting up with someone I had never met after messaging a few times terrified me. I always stayed close to my friends, and there have even been nights where I have called my guy-friends asking them to come walk me home somewhere from campus because I was nervous walking home. Do not get me wrong, I am a strong independent person, but I also had common sense.
When I came to college, I began to make friends by reaching out to strangers. Especially because I live in the literal middle of a corn field, I believed nothing could happen and I let my guard down when it came to making new friends. I would make new friends in the library, waiting in line somewhere, or even just walking down the street. To me that is what college was, meeting your lifelong friends in areas you would never expect. I never once believed I was at risk.
My typical week involves me eating dinner in one of our main areas, called the Union on campus. I was always out of class early, so I would go and sit outside Starbucks and work on my homework and wait for my friends. One Wednesday I was sitting at my normal table, with my headphones in, editing articles, and I was approached by someone named Ju* if I had a minute to talk. I took out my headphones and said sure, but I was taken aback.
The girl named Ju was with two other men, appearing to be college age, and asked if I was religious. I had attended church my entire childhood, and stopped going when I came to college due to time, but still listen to the sermons online from my church back home. I believed as if this was an international student who had recently found God and was looking for someone to talk to about it. I was interested in talking with her, and hearing about her international experiences with God and see what her views were. So, I listened for 20 minutes or so, while she told me about the “Mother of God” and used different Bible references to back herself up. Afterwards she asked me if we could continue our conversation soon, and I said that I would be willing after Spring Break when I had more time, she asked for my contact information, and I gave it willingly because I thought as if I was helping spread the word of God, something I hadn’t really done in college. I was excited to hear from her, and talk again later about her opinions in religion.
I forgot about Ju until one day I was on my class college page, and read a post from a girl saying that she got a text from her friend at a different university about how these people talking about the “Mother of God” are a cover for human trafficking and that she needed to be careful. As I read through the comments and realized that I was not alone in this interaction, and every single person that was contact was a female who was my age, sitting alone in a public area. When I thought back to my interaction I realized that I was the only one that they talked to when I was in the Union, and I was the only one sitting alone.
Ju has not tried to contact me since that day, but ever since then more and more stories have been coming out about people who have been contacted by this group. In my research I have done, I have learned that this group appears to be a confirmed cult, who recruits young girls, separates them from family and friends over a few months by requiring them to do more and more, and then have them marry South Korean men. Now I like to believe that I wouldn’t have gotten that far into it, but I also never thought I would be contacted by a group like this at my school in the middle of a corn field.
There has been debate on Twitter with whether or not this was actually a human trafficking instance, or if it really is just a club looking for members and recruits. In either situation, I was taught I needed to be more careful on who I talk to, and definitely more careful with who I give my information out to. Don’t trust everyone you meet, don’t fall into this trap of human trafficking.
Human Trafficking Phone Number: 1 (888) 373-7888
*Name has been changed