Young Woman Falsely Accused Of Human Trafficking While Selling Educational Books To Children

Young Woman Falsely Accused Of Human Trafficking While Selling Educational Books To Children

Taking social media community awareness too far.
1761
views

As I was scrolling through Facebook last week, I came across a lengthy post with a picture of a smiling young girl giving a thumbs up on somebody's doorstep. The picture was taken using Snapchat, and had a caption across it that read "if this girl comes to your door, don't answer it."

The user detailed how the girl had come to her doorstep selling educational books for children, and used her "smooth-talking" to come inside their home. The user claimed that the young saleswoman was actually involved in human trafficking and was using the books as a guise to case the home for children to kidnap. The user went so far as to accuse the saleswoman of using their bathroom only to examine pictures of her children.

At first, I was shocked. "How could a young girl do something like that to families? That's despicable." But after about 1 millisecond, my "don't-believe-everything-you-read-on-the-Internet" common sense kicked in, and I began my research.

After some easy Facebook digging, I found pictures of the girl standing next to a local police officer. Only she wasn't being cuffed or charged with human trafficking-- she was smiling at the camera just like she did in the picture that was used to falsely label her as a nefarious child-stealer.

Deja Miller is a college student working independently for a company called Southwestern Advantage. Southwestern Advantage hires college students to sell books to local families in order to help finance their education. Some notable former employees include Texas Governor Rick Perry, Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, and author Martin Fridson.

From their website: "The Southwestern Advantage Sales & Leadership Program allows students to run their own businesses during their summer breaks through the product and training Southwestern Advantage offers. The students are independent contractors. They purchase products from Southwestern Advantage at wholesale and sell them to customers at retail."


So, after about five minutes of lightweight research, I uncovered the truth behind this "human trafficking threat." Why couldn't the Facebook user who labelled Deja as a human trafficker done this same research? Why do we live in an era where people are more inclined to type up a 500-word warning with no evidence and post it to social media rather than doing a little research?

As a person who lives in the neighboring village of Ada, I am fully aware of the suspicious and potentially dangerous activity related to human trafficking that has been going on in Lima recently. Human trafficking isn't a joke or something to be taken lightly. Toledo alone has become notorious for human trafficking in the United States, and with Lima being so close it's understandable that locals have become extremely cautious. Traffickers are men and women alike, which is one of the only statements which I could agree with on the Facebook post targeting Deja.

Now here's where the big BUT comes in: While I completely sympathize with the fear of the Facebook user and the fear that I've seen reflected throughout the community, I cannot sympathize with using social media as an engine for destroying a person's livelihood and career. Would it be worth it if she were a human trafficker and lives were saved? Sure. But my question is where was your evidence? What led you to believe that this harmless girl carrying a clipboard and some books was a danger to you and your children?

Fortunately, Deja was able to meet with local law enforcement to snap a few pictures for legitimacy and post them on her professional page to clear the air.

It seems that Deja has received a great deal of support from the community, but it's unsure what impact the post will have on her sales in Lima. Deja reported that she will be in town for the next two weeks selling books to children, presumably before she returns to school. Fortunately, the Facebook user removed the post after it was made clear that Deja is a legitimate saleswoman.

Is fear a good enough reason to label someone as a monster? Is it a good enough reason to circulate their picture via social media (traveling faster than those little pamphlets you get in the mail with local sex offenders) warning locals not to answer their doors? This is her livelihood, how she is making money to finance her education--potentially ripped away by a girl using Facebook as a weapon.

My question is, why was this harmless book saleswoman falsely labeled as a sex-trafficker? What is it about her appearance that makes her seem threatening? What was it about her personal demeanor that screamed "warning!" to you?


To Deja: I hope that this negative experience hasn't marred your opinion of Lima (or Ohio). I want to personally extend my thanks to you for the amazing work you're doing in this community. Keep doing you, girl!

Cover Image Credit: Facebook

Popular Right Now

The Trump Presidency Is Over

Say hello to President Mike Pence.

52428
views

Remember this date: August 21, 2018.

This was the day that two of President Donald Trump's most-important associates were convicted on eight counts each, and one directly implicated the president himself.

Paul Manafort was Trump's campaign chairman for a few months in 2016, but the charges brought against him don't necessarily implicate Trump. However, they are incredibly important considering was is one of the most influential people in the Trump campaign and picked Mike Pence to be the vice presidential candidate.

Manafort was convicted on five counts of tax fraud, two counts of bank fraud, and one count of failure to file a report of a foreign bank account. And it could have been even worse. The jury was only unanimous on eight counts while 10 counts were declared a mistrial.

Michael Cohen, Trump's personal lawyer, told a judge that Trump explicitly instructed him to break campaign-finance laws by paying two women not to publicly disclose the affairs they had with Trump. Those two women are believed to be Karen McDougal, a Playboy model, and Stormy Daniels, a pornstar. Trump had an affair with both while married to his current wife, Melania.

And then to no surprise, Fox News pundits spun this in the only way they know how. Sara Carter on Hannity said that the FBI and the Department of Justice are colluding as if it's some sort of deep-state conspiracy. Does someone want to tell her that the FBI is literally a part of the DOJ?

The Republican Party has for too long let Trump get away with criminal behavior, and it's long past time to, at the very least, remove Mr. Trump from office.

And then Trump should face the consequences for the crimes he has committed. Yes, Democrats have a role, too. But Republicans have control of both chambers of Congress, so they head every committee. They have the power to subpoena Trump's tax returns, which they have not. They have the power to subpoena key witnesses in their Russia investigations, which they have not.

For the better part of a year I have been asking myself what is the breaking point with Republicans and Trump. It does not seem like there is one, so for the time being we're stuck with a president who paid off two women he had an affair with in an attempt to influence a United States election.

Imagine for a second that any past president had done even a fraction of what Trump has.

Barack Obama got eviscerated for wearing a tan suit. If he had affairs with multiple women, then Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell would be preparing to burn him at the stake. If they won't, then Trump's enthusiastic would be more than happy to do so.

For too long we've been saying that Trump is heading down a road similar to Nixon, but it's evident now that we're way past that point. Donald Trump now has incriminating evidence against him to prove he's a criminal, and Special Counsel Robert Mueller is just getting started.

Will Trump soften the blow and resign in disgrace before impeachment like Nixon did? Knowing his fragile ego, there's honestly no telling what he'll do. But it's high time Trump leaves an office he never should have entered in the first place.

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Beto O'Rourke Is The Future For The Democratic Party

Democrats need a new voice, and now they have him.

437
views

As a self-professed progressive, the 2016 presidential election was one of the darkest days of my life. Every day I wish that the election had turned out differently. But if there's a silver lining, the Democratic Party has almost completely reinvented itself and has a chance to move forward.

Barack Obama was an amazing leader for the party for a decade. Hillary Clinton was arguably the most-flawed candidate the modern-day Democratic Party has ever nominated, and she lost to the most-flawed Republican ever nominated. So now the Democrats need someone to look up to and lead the way past the regressive presidency of Donald Trump. That man is Beto O'Rourke.

O'Rourke is a representative of Texas's 16th congressional district, which covers the city of El Paso. But right now people in the political world know him as the guy who is running against arguably the most-hated man in the Senate, Ted Cruz. Former House Speaker and fellow Republican John Boehner once said that Cruz is "Lucifer in the flesh."

Cruz prides himself in being hated by Washington politicians, but hatred from his current colleagues could come back to bite him. "If you killed Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, and the trial was in the Senate, nobody would convict you," said Lindsey Graham, Republican senator from South Carolina.

If O'Rourke wins in November, he'll take down Cruz, who is one of the most powerful and influential Republicans in Washington despite being hated. And it could launch Beto to even higher office someday.

Even if he loses to Cruz, Beto has an extremely bright future ahead of him because he's just what the Democratic Party needs right now. He's young, passionate, communicates extremely well and is a perfect representation of what the face of the party should be.

This year, O'Rourke has been setting an example of how Democrats should run their campaigns. Beto has traveled to every single one of Texas's 254 counties. Ever since the Supreme Court's decision on Citizens United v. FEC (2010), Democrats have pushed for campaign finance reform, and O'Rourke is leading by example with his campaign. Beto has taken $0 from Political Action Committees (PACs). All of his money comes from individual donors. Cruz has taken PAC money, but O'Rourke still holds a significant advantage in fundraising.

O'Rourke in his campaign emphasizes that Texas has among the highest immigration populations in the United States, but the senators from Texas, Cruz and John Cornyn, do not accurately represent the diversity of the state. O'Rourke has separated himself from Cruz by speaking out against the proposed border wall and the separation of immigrant children at the border.

I'm not from Texas, but I'm just as excited for this senate race as I was when Doug Jones won in my home state almost a year ago. Beto O'Rourke has an opportunity to make positive change in our country and actually bring people together. If he doesn't win in November, Beto should make plans for 2020 because he can become the face of the Democratic Party.

If you'd like to learn more about, join, or donate to the campaign, here is a link.

Related Content

Facebook Comments