If the popular A24 film “Spring Breakers” has taught us anything, it’s that it’s in our best interest to be wary of the company we keep when we travel.
Spring break is approaching, and for many college students, this means a vacation is in order. You and your friends are thinking, “We should find a promoter to go to clubs!” or “We need to find someone with a boat!”
While students are excited to lavishly spend time away from school, it is imperative they keep a close eye on the dangers of traveling — young women especially. Though the allure of a luxurious vacation is enticing, there are risks to taking a chance on strangers offering nice things, some even as big as human trafficking.
Clubs and beaches can feel essential for spring break vacations. Well-known, reliable promoters often advertise on social media. Others who claim to be promoters often approach young women on beaches and in public, promising access to the best clubs and excursions for a discounted price, sometimes even for free.
Miami, Florida is among major spring break destinations where travelers should keep an eye out for potentially dangerous people.
Human Trafficking in Miami
Florida is one of the top three states in the U.S. for human trafficking. Miami is the state’s most popular spring break destination, offering both the vibrancy of luxurious city life with tropical, white sand beaches.
One human trafficking survivor called Miami a “hub” for trafficking in an interview for NBC 6 South Florida back in 2019. She says, “When it comes to Miami, you have the strip clubs, you have the bars, the pay-by-the-hour hotels and it is easy to buy someone.”
One common misconception is that if you are an attractive, young woman, you can get your excursions paid for. But that can come with a price. There are traffickers out there who know exactly how to entice young women drawn to cruising on yachts and partying in private sections of clubs.
Any place where attractive, young women can get drunk and diminish their sense of awareness makes an ideal spot for trafficking to take place. This is why one woman recently took to Twitter to explain why women should be skeptical when taking offers from promoters.
Miami is surrounded by ocean, as are other popular spring break locations, such as Fort Lauderdale, Cancun and Cabo San Lucas.
Human trafficking often happens at sea, and victims are most susceptible when they are some place nobody can help them. Everyday, skilled Border Patrol agents check imports of possible human trafficking victims who could be potentially transported by boat.
Miami is so close to international waters, and within a matter of minutes, a boat can transport several people who are completely out of the public eye.
Being constantly aware of your surroundings is key. Staying by your friends the entire night and making sure you have a close eye on your drinks will keep you in control. Men who spike drinks in order to encourage you to return home with them aren’t the only ones to keep an eye on. Keep in mind that perpetrators of sex trafficking can be both male and female.
It’s in travelers’ best interest to think twice about taking up an offer for free access to boats and clubs. Travelers should make sure the people driving their boat is trustworthy and reliable.
Spring Break is the time to relax and have fun. Though you may be yearning to go to a club through a less-then-reliable promoter, remember it is far better to be safe than sorry. The cheapest option may not always be the safest.
If you sense you’re in danger, seek help at the National Sex Trafficking Hotline at 1 (888) 373-7888.
Do you have any advice for traveling safely? Tweet us, @VALLEYmag, and let us know!