A North Carolina teenager who had been kidnapped was rescued by police last week after signalling for help using a hand gesture she learned thanks to TikTok.
Originally meant as a nonverbal cue to help victims of domestic abuse, the 16-year-old used the hand signal to signal distress to a passing motorist.
The motorist was able to contact Kentucky authorities, reporting that they saw the underage passenger flash the sign.
The signal consists of tucking your thumb into your open palm and then closing your fingers down over your thumb.
According to the Laurel Country Sheriff’s office, investigators were able to stop the vehicle and learned that the teen had been reported missing by her parents from Asheville, N.C. two days earlier.
Suspect James Herbert Brick, 61, was arrested at the scene and charged with unlawful imprisonment. The sheriff’s office said they found images on Brick’s phone showing the girl in “a sexual manner.”
The “Signal for Help” campaign was started by the Canadian Women’s Federation in 2020, and has spread across social media since then. It began as a way for people to alert others to possible troubles at home, at a time when many people became housebound due to the pandemic.
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