Missing girl rescued after using TikTok hand signals alerting she needs help

“Signal for HELP” – A missing girl was rescued thanks to hand signals alerting she was in trouble that she learned on TikTok. 

A man has been arrested after the Laurel County, Kentucky he had abducted used hand signals alerting she needed help. The victim, whose identity has not been revealed, learned the life-saving gestures on TikTok, as Unilad reports.


#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 police in Laurel County, Kentucky, responded to a 911 call by a passer-by who saw the girl using the hand signal to tell them she was in trouble. At the time, she was in a truck driven by her abuser, identified as James Brick.  

As explained by the Laurel County Sheriff’s Department, the victim had been making signs representing “violence at home/ I need help/ domestic violence.” She had reportedly seen the gestures in a series of viral TikTok videos showing viewers how to signal they need help without alerting a potential abuser.

James Brick was later charged with unlawful imprisonment, as well as an additional count of possession of matter depicting a sex performance by a minor.

Credits: Laurel County Sheriff’s Office

The police revealed the girl had traveled with the abuser across state lines, through “North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky and into Ohio.” She had been reported missing by her parents in Asheville, North Carolina, last week.

The most popular hand sign representing the need for help is the one where you curl up your fingers over your thumb. According to the Canadian Women’s Foundation, it asks the person you are interacting with to reach out to you without alerting the perpetrator.

Credits: Canadian Women’s Foundation

The organization explains:

“The Signal for Help is a tool that may help some people, some of the time. 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.”


The risk of violence has increased due to covid19. Duet or follow @canadianwomensfoundation on IG to share #signalforhelp art & raise awareness. #GBV

♬ original sound – Canadian Women’s Foundation

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