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

May 02nd, 2018

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.

If you're being taken abroad against your will for;

▪Forced Marriage
▪Child Abuse
▪Honour Based Violence
▪Human Trafficking


Metal detector will alert airport security who will secure your safety! pic.twitter.com/pV6yZFRFsF

— PC Dave Wise (@CopThatCooks) April 27, 2018

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.

A little more to add that didn't make the original tweet:

This could be someones only chance to discreetly alert authorities and speak to someone away from their abuser or controlling family.

Any metal object would do but 'the spoon trick' is something security are alert to.

— PC Dave Wise (@CopThatCooks) April 27, 2018

This reply from @frontlinegrunt adds some useful context and explanation of how this should work for a victim. pic.twitter.com/yOEl25DxQT

— PC Dave Wise (@CopThatCooks) April 27, 2018

More insight on why this 'spoon trick' is a helpful option from @PrincessMissDee pic.twitter.com/ekTc0vOBej

— PC Dave Wise (@CopThatCooks) April 28, 2018

On another view.
When you tell your story to the authorities.
The authorities could track you from that point onward (let me say use you as bait with your permission) in case of trafficking. You’ll help rescue many more.

— Search Engine (@derrick_goz) May 1, 2018

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.

Go to a costa or cafe and take a spoon if you are unable to bring one from home 🏠

— Emma Louise (@emma1344) April 28, 2018

Coffee on the brain 🙈 I don’t think they’ll miss a spoon when it’s someone’s future and well being on the line! I think if they did the police would politely decline to open a theft case 🙈

— Emma Louise (@emma1344) April 28, 2018

Metal bangles are less suspicious. Have told girls this trick, they’ve done it and it’s worked. Families check bags for things; bangles are normal.

— Raquel E Saraswati (@RaquelEvita) April 28, 2018

Hey so I actually work on these issues. The girl goes to pee beforehand; if it can’t be done before leaving home.

— Raquel E Saraswati (@RaquelEvita) April 28, 2018

For scanning tech, a square of foil in the underwear also works.

— Suzanne C-J (@barefootswan) April 29, 2018

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.

Coercion isn't that simplistic. Targets comply in order to fund or protect family, meet cultural expectations, because they need money, or to please a partner or other protective figure. If it were just a matter of carrying cutlery, the problem would disappear overnight.

— Right in the Head (@RitHTAP) April 29, 2018

Or they could let you go through
Alert authorities on the receiving end to ensure your safety.
In course of the journey, Secure your family.
Then again alert the authorities as regards your rescue.

These Ideas are open to criticism

— Search Engine (@derrick_goz) May 1, 2018

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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