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Self-defense and anti-sex trafficking seminar held in Chicago

By Tariqah Shakir-Muhammad -Final Call Newspaper- | Last updated: Dec 17, 2019 - 11:22:47 AM

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(L-R) Dr. Kisha Roberts-Tabb, Student Minister Shahid Muhammad, Student National Auditing Coordinator. Photos: Haroon Rajaee

CHICAGO— Since the rise of sex trafficking and abductions of young women and girls, there is a since of urgency and concern among activists and advocates to shed light on the dangers of what is happening and educate the community on warning signs and to prevent further victims. Women and girls must understand the methods sex and human traffickers are using to trap them and ways to protect themselves from harm, they warn.
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Student Minister Shahid Muhammad, an educator also known as the “Math Doctor” recently hosted a Self-Defense and Information Seminar for women and girls at Nation of Islam headquarters in Chicago. The program featured presentations on surviving kidnappers and sex traffickers, self-defense and survival tactics, the importance of self-esteem and self-worth, and how social media is being used as a tool in luring and trapping young girls and boys.

“It’s not something that we just say ‘hey, that’s a shame that that’s happened,’” Student Min. Shahid Muhammad stated during his remarks Dec. 8 at Mosque Maryam, referring to the rise of sex trafficking in the city and across the nation. “We need to see this is a state of emergency for all of humanity. It is a state of emergency in particular for the Black man and woman, our expanded family and our Indigenous brothers and sisters across this country and the globe.”

The Black and Missing Foundation in a recent report stated Black women make up 10 percent of the 40 percent of all reported missing persons cases. The Final Call recently reported on the rise of sex trafficking and that young women and girls are often lured into “the life” by promises of love, fame, money or all three and that they can also be sold from one trafficker to another.

Student Min. Ishmael Muhammad delivered a powerful keynote message titled, “Your Value and Sacredness to God” and afterward, women and girls in the audience were invited to stay for the program.

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(L) Women and girls in the audience were strongly encouraged to learn how to defend themselves and take security precautions. Student MGT Officer Kabasa Muhammad was one of the presenters. (R) Martial arts instructor Celeritas Muhammad and Taina Muhammad demonstrate techniques on how to properly handle an attacker.

Presenters included human trafficking expert, Dr. Kisha Roberts-Tabb, Student National Auditing Coordinator A’ishah Muhammad and MGT Student Officer Kabasa Muhammad.

Young people should be exposed to the dangers they face because sex traffickers are targeting them younger and younger, explained Dr. Roberts-Tabb. “When we start having conversations with teenagers, we’re being reactive. When we start having conversations with our younger babies then we’re being proactive, so we’re being preventative and that’s where we need to start. We need to tackle the problem before the problem hits instead of being reactive to the problem,” she said.

Dr. Roberts-Tabb is also author of “Whose Little Girl Am I?” and is an activist and specialist in human trafficking/gender responsive/ LGBTQ studies.

Women and girls in the audience were strongly encouraged to take security precautions like traveling in pairs and reporting their whereabouts to a family member or friend. They were also warned to be aware of who they associate with and what they post on social media sites.

Conversations and education about sex and human trafficking are critically important for the Black community because it affects us in large numbers, Dr. Roberts-Tabb continued. “When we talk about Black and Brown people, especially women they’re often more involved in authoritative systems in some compacity which are entryways into exploitation and things of that nature. Why would we be talking to another community and we’re being affected at the largest rates?” she said.

After the presentations, participants went next door to Muhmmad University of Islam for interactive and live self-defense session with martial arts instructor Celeritas Muhammad. He demonstrated techniques on how to properly handle an attacker.

“I think it’s very informative as an African American woman and I really think this information needs to be out to the public because we are a commodity and I don’t think that we’re really being taken seriously as far as our safety,” said Brandi R. Love after the seminar.

“I think everyone deserves the right to defend themselves,” said 21-year-old Kyla Frenchwood,. “I think it was a really good, informative class/lecture, I wish there were more people who came,” she said.

“I’m really thankful that Brother Shahid put this on because there have been a lot of incidents or experiences where our women are targeted,” said 17-year-old Nyah Tsai. “It’s important that we know how to defend ourselves especially if someone’s going to take something that we don’t want to give him.”

For more information on future seminars email Shahid Muhammad at [email protected] gmail.com.