Denver Colorado is extremely suseptable to sex trafficing with having an international airport, convergence of major interstate highways and a large immigrant population. The other day my partner and I were riding the Denver light rail train system. While leaning back with my arms well stretched into my partners space and over our the side of our 2 person seat. I noticed a larger caucasian man with a coat and large headphones zooming in and out on his camera phone. I stared at his phone with him. Watching him accidentally switch to self portrait mode periodically while zooming in and trying to focus on the front of the train.
First I could make out an arm and a leg. A long black winter jacket I couldn’t help but go on autopilot thinking how I wanted one. And when I blinked back into reality I noticed he had taken a picture. I recognized the train seats, the young girl pixelated into my vision on the screen. With the curly red “Brave” movie like hair and black coat. Sitting with her legs criss crossed and propped up on to the seat scrolling on her phone.
Though I knew my eyes weren’t lying I couldn’t believe it. So I snuck behind him and got a closer look. Sure enough he was taking photo after photo of a young woman on the train. Unaware that he was seen, he scrolled back through the photos some up close, full body, focus and unfocused. He was just staring at her.
By this time my partner was wondering why I had gotten up and what had my attention, I explained what was going on. The man was still endlessly gazing at the pictures. Appalled she wanted to tell the woman that someone had taken a photo of her without her consent or even knowledge. Ushering me to the left to slide out our seat, the train stopped. The young woman hurried off.
Video recording and taking photos of woman can be a form of traffing, sex traffing is at an all time high, the number of women increaseing daily. He could have been sending them to someone or posting the photos somewhere inappropriately. It’s important as a community when we see things we act on them.
She got up, and sat across from the man. She then started the conversation saying, “you need to delete those pictures I’ve seen you take them.”
The man responded in a state of confusion denying what was being said to him.
She responded repeating herself verbatim to what she had said before.
He picked up his phone and I watched him delete at least 5 photos, I gave her a thumbs up. As she turned to leave the seat she asked if he had any woman in his life he would feel uncomfortable getting photographed on the train…
The practice of traffing sex is alive and active we can do our parts as individuals to say something when we see it.
The man later moved seats behind my partner and began to film the back of us. I recorded him to avoid turning to stare into his camera.. After about 5 minutes of us recording each other the man walked towards us with his phone covering his face. I was nervous about him coming in front of me and having my own and my partners face on his personal camera phone.
As he stepped directly on the side of me I grabbed his camera out of his hands, my partner yelled at him. I slid the phone up the aisle, he chased it and got off the train.
Be aware of your surroundings. When you see something you owe it to yourself to say something. It can be intimidating approaching a predator. We’ve included a hotline you can call to report suspicious activity. The safest way for families to deal with these kinds of interactions is to either take a picture or record it for proof,remove yourself from the train, and call a hotline or the police. The more open and honest we are about real issues, the more likely we are to build a community standard on how to handle it, and find a solution.
LCHT (Laboratory to combat human trafficking) is a local organization working to end trafficking. You can contact them at 303-295-0451 or text them at 720-999-9724. You can also call 866-455-5075 to report 24/7.
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