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Martial arts team reacts to local human trafficking

Martial Arts
Martial Arts(Abel Garcia)
Published: Oct. 22, 2020 at 10:56 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - It can happen to anyone in just a blink of an eye, a suspicious vehicle pulling up next to you, and before you know it, you become another victim.

On Saturday, October 17, 2020, Kaitlyn Lehigh, an instructor at West Coast Martial Arts said she was followed by a white van during a run for her special training. Three of her teammates witnessed the suspicious activity, and they quickly ran back to her to make sure she was safe. Kaitlyn said it was a moment of panic, but she was prepared to defend herself.

“Even if you think you are overreacting, it is better to be safe than sorry,” said Lehigh. “You need to spread awareness and say this happened to me and it can happen to you too and this is what you need to do.”

Denice Challender-Slater the master instructor, said she is taking this instance into deep consideration. Challender-Slater is training her students with scenarios if someone approaches them and attempts to kidnap, raising awareness of the dangers that can occur.

“Some of our students that have been struggling over quarantine, struggling over the digital school, struggling with staying at home with their families, as well as parents, and that’s the time our young children are most susceptible,” said Challender-Slater.

This pandemic has led to more hours of being online, which can include sharing personal information. Challender-slater said this can give predators the chance to locate you, she added that parents need to be on high alert.

“We really have to put our oxygen mask on first and take care of ourselves so we can have the energy and the focus to step it up and meet the needs of our children.”

It’s important to stay aware and be prepared. The danger exists, but how you respond can save your life.

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