KINGSTON, Tenn. — Sex trafficking is the second fastest-growing crime in the state of Tennessee.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said 85% of Tennessee counties reported at least one case of sex trafficking in the past two years. That same research also shows the majority of the trafficking victims are women.
Tim Carroll, a certified trainer and head instructor at LFX Firearms, is teaching women to observe suspicious activity and equip their minds for action.
"Situational awareness is all about being aware of everything that's going on in your environment and how that could possibly affect you," Carroll said.
While he typically teaches self-defense shooting courses, he felt a class based around prevention was critical, given the rising risk for crime.
"You hear a lot of stories about people being followed by some stranger or something like that. I thought, you know, it's really, really important for women to be able to identify possible threats that are out in the world," Carroll said.
In the course, he identified ways women can be more observant of their surroundings. It all starts with putting down the cell phone.
According to Carroll, texting, gaming or scrolling through social media in public takes our minds off our surroundings. He said predators are more likely to target a victim if they're not aware of their surroundings.
He also talked about the importance of 'screening' the surroundings before entering a space. He encouraged women to do a 360-degree scan of an area to be aware of any potential threats.
Finally, he talked about types of aggressive male behavior and how to predict motive.
"70-90% of all human communication is through body language, so it's nonverbal," Carroll said. "Being able to identify certain attributes of somebody, based on their body language is really, really important as well."
He said the skills taught in the class can help women stay out of physical altercations and prevent them from becoming a victim of a crime.
"If you can, if you can spot and avoid these things, it's way better than having to maybe fight for your life and a real physical confrontation," Carroll said.
You can find a list of upcoming self-defense classes here.