Threating New Reason Michigan Women Should Carry Pepper Spray

Pepper spray serves as a widely embraced self-defense tool, offering women a means to safeguard themselves against potential attackers. However, there is an emerging and concerning factor urging Michigan women to contemplate carrying pepper spray: the escalating incidence of human trafficking.

Human Trafficking in Michigan: A Mounting Concern

Human trafficking, a contemporary form of slavery involving the exploitation of individuals for labor, sex, or other purposes, is a pervasive issue. According to the Michigan Human Trafficking Commission, Michigan ranks among the top states in the nation for human trafficking cases, reporting 364 incidents in 2020. Primarily, these cases entail sex trafficking, with women and girls forming the majority of victims.

The intricate and diverse factors contributing to Michigan’s elevated prevalence of human trafficking encompass:

  • Proximity to the Canadian border and major waterways, facilitating trafficker and victim movement.
  • A sizable and varied population, providing a pool of vulnerable groups like immigrants, refugees, runaway youth, and the homeless.
  • Economic challenges leading to poverty, unemployment, and limited opportunities, particularly in urban areas like Detroit and Flint.
  • A demand for commercial sex and cheap labor fueling the human trafficking market.

How Pepper Spray Empowers Women

While addressing human trafficking necessitates a comprehensive response from law enforcement, government, and civil society, individual women can take steps to protect themselves. One such measure is carrying pepper spray.

Pepper spray, a non-lethal weapon containing oleoresin capsicum (OC), derived from chili peppers, induces intense pain, inflammation, and temporary blindness when sprayed on an attacker’s eyes or skin. It proves effective in deterring, disabling, or escaping from assailants, whether strangers, acquaintances, or traffickers.

Key advantages of women carrying pepper spray include:

  • Legal possession and use for self-defense purposes in Michigan without special permits or licenses.
  • User-friendly with no need for specialized skills or training.
  • Affordability and accessibility through authorized retailers like licensed firearms dealers or pharmacists.
  • Discreet and portable, easily fitting into a purse, pocket, or keychain without arousing attention.
  • Empowering and confidence-boosting, instilling a sense of security in potentially perilous situations.


Human trafficking poses a grave and disconcerting reality for numerous women and girls in Michigan. Although there is no foolproof method to prevent or entirely evade this risk, carrying pepper spray stands as a practical and effective measure to enhance personal safety and self-defense.

Pepper spray equips women to fend off or escape from attackers, be they random strangers, familiar individuals, or human traffickers. Consequently, Michigan women should contemplate integrating pepper spray into their daily routines and precautions.


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