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Hiding a metal spoon in your underwear could save you from human trafficking

For many years, people who are subject to forced marriages or are being taken abroad against their own will, have been using a “spoon trick” as a cry for help. It has worked in the past that some officers in an airport would know that it might be a code for someone discreetly asking to be saved.

In a tweet by PC Dave Wise, he shared how hiding a metal spoon in an underwear could help those who are at risk of forced marriage, sexploitation, FGM (female genital mutilation), child abuse, abduction, honour-based violence, and human trafficking by setting off the metal detectors or body scanners and alerting the airport security.


When the metal detector sets off, an airport security personel will escort the person in question to be searched privately. The Police Constable added that this gives the victim an opportunity to privately talk to the authorities—away from their abusers or those who are forcing them to go.




Karma Nirvana, a UK-based human rights charity supporting victims of honour-based abuse, forced marriage, and disownment, advises people to use spoon or any other metal to set off detectors at the airport and alert authorities without the presence of their parents or their abusers. The charity says that its recommendation has prevented many people, women in particular, from being forcefully taken out of the country.

People are adding suggestions to the Twitter thread, saying that getting spoon from a nearby cafe can also be done if you are unable to bring one from home, or using less suspicious metals like bangles and square foils.


While this may be a working and useful “trick” for some, one pointed out that coercion sometimes prohibits the victim from asking for help or talking to the authorities. With this, people are coming up with ideas on how victims can come forward and tell the authorities about their story.

In the Philippines, men, women, and children are subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor. According to the 2017 U.S. Department of State’s Trafficking In Person Report (TIPR), an “estimated 10 million Filipinos work abroad, and a significant number of these migrant workers are subjected to sex and labor trafficking—predominantly via debt bondage—in the fishing, shipping, construction, education, home health care, and agricultural industries, as well as in domestic work, janitorial service, and other hospitality-related jobs, particularly across the Middle East, Asia, and North America.”

This may be just a simple trick but it could potentially save many lives and arrest perpetrators.


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