A man has been arrested after a missing girl was rescued after using hand signals she learned on TikTok to alert a passer-by that she needed help.
The 16-year-old girl, who has not been named, was reportedly in a truck that was stopped by police in Laurel County, Kentucky, after someone recognised the ‘Signal for Help’ gesture she was using and called 911.
According to the Laurel County Sheriff’s Department, the girl had been making signs that ‘represent violence at home/ I need help/ domestic violence’. The signs in question have been demonstrated in a series of viral TikTok videos explaining how to tell or show that someone needs help without alerting a potential abuser.
The driver, named by police as James Brick, was charged with unlawful imprisonment, as well as an additional count of possession of matter depicting a sex performance by a minor over the age of 12 but under age 18.
Police said the girl, who had been reported missing by her parents in Asheville, North Carolina last week, told officers she’d travelled with Brick across state lines, through ‘North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky and into Ohio’.
@cdnwomenfdn##covid19 is making it difficult for people at risk of violence to safely reach out. Learn more: canadianwomen.org/signal-for-help/ ##fyp##signalforhelp♬ original sound – Canadian Women’s Foundation
The specific hand signal used by the girl was not revealed by police, however the most popular TikTok demonstrating how to signal for help shows a woman with her palm facing the camera, and her fingers curled over her thumb. According to the TikTok, posted by the Canadian Women’s Foundation, the sign asks the person they are speaking to to reach out to them without alerting their abuser.
‘The Signal for Help is a tool that may help some people, some of the time,’ the foundation stresses. ‘Some people do not have the ability to make video calls. Please find other resources, services, and programs [to help people] that may be helpful in an unsafe situation at home.’
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Topics: News, kentucky, missing person, Now, TikTok
CreditsLaurel County Sheriff's Office/Facebook
Laurel County Sheriff's Office/Facebook
Laurel Sheriff's investigators rescue 16 year old missing North Carolina girl, and arrest subject who had her