FACT CHECK: Are Women Being Targeted By Human Traffickers With $100 At A Massachusetts Shopping Mall?

Bradley Devlin | General Assignment & Analysis Reporter

Viral Facebook posts claim that a “man in a van” wrapped a $100 bill and a red ribbon around the door handle of a woman’s parked car in an attempted sex trafficking abduction at Northgate Shopping Center in Revere, Massachusetts.

Verdict: False

There is no record of such an abduction event taking place at Northgate Shopping Center. A spokesperson for the Revere Police Department has called the claims “not true.”

Fact Check:

The seemingly copy-and-pasted posts written by two individuals claim their friend’s sister was the victim of the a sex trafficking abduction attempt. The posts claim that police told the woman it is was a “ploy sex traffickers are using to kidnap women and children” and that the bill and ribbon “could be laced with something that would absorb into your skin and make you groggy or even pass out.”

The posts recirculate claims about nonexistent abduction attempts in Revere, Massachusetts, that previously surfaced on Facebook in February of this year. Captain Amy O’Hara, a spokesperson for the Revere Police Department, told AFP at the time that the posts’ claims were “not true.” (RELATED: Does This Photo Show Don Lemon With Jeffrey Epstein?)

The Revere Police Department has not released any statements on its website or on Facebook to suggest such an a sex trafficking abduction method has taken place since the claims emerged in February. Check Your Fact also reached out directly to the police department for comment but, at time of publication, it has not responded. A review of local media sources like the Revere Journal and other sources such as the Boston Globe turned up no evidence to support the claims in the Facebook posts.

False posts regarding human trafficking often feed into common misconceptions about the nature and circumstances of human trafficking crimes. The Polaris Project, a non-governmental organization devoted to combating modern-day slavery and human trafficking, says one of these myths is that individuals are often trafficked by strangers, noting that “many survivors have been trafficked by romantic partners, including spouses, and by family members, including parents.”

“The most pervasive myth about human trafficking is that it often involves kidnapping or physically forcing someone into a situation,” the Polaris Project website says on its home page. “In reality, most traffickers use psychological means such as, tricking, defrauding, manipulating or threatening victims into providing commercial sex or exploitative labor.”

Bradley Devlin

General Assignment & Analysis Reporter
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