FACT CHECK: Are Women Being Targeted At The Greenwood Mall In Kentucky Or Indiana For Human Trafficking With Bills That Have Intoxicants On Them?

Bradley Devlin | General Assignment & Analysis Reporter

A viral Facebook post shared more than 16,000 times claims people are “being targeted for sex trafficking” at the Greenwood Mall by traffickers that are “lacing money with a drug and wrapping it in ribbon on your car so when you grab it you pass out.”

Verdict: False

There is no evidence of human traffickers using such a tactic at the Greenwood Mall in either Greenwood, Indiana or Bowling Green, Kentucky.

Fact Check:

Check Your Fact found two “Greenwood” malls in the U.S. – a Greenwood Mall in Bowling Green, Kentucky, and a Greenwood Park Mall in Greenwood, Indiana.

A review of local media affiliates such as Bowling Green Daily News and WBKO13 turned up no reports about sex traffickers using such a tactic at the Bowling Green mall. Bowling Green Police Officer Ronnie Ward confirmed to Check Your Fact that there is no record of a human trafficking incident such as the one described in the post ever happening in the Bowling Green area. Ward said, “Most people read this and repost without contacting law enforcement to just ask if it is true or not. This continues the spread of fear-invoking information, all unnecessarily.”

There also don’t appear to be any local Greenwood, Indiana, media outlets reporting about incidents like the one described in the post. The Greenwood Police Department addressed the viral claim in a Facebook post on Sept. 25, saying that it is “simply inaccurate information.”

“The Greenwood Police Department has not taken a report involving an abduction or even an attempted abduction,” the department wrote on Facebook. “We believe this rumor is a result of a report taken last week in which a female reported that while getting into her vehicle in the mall parking lot, a male was picking up cash that was on the ground near her vehicle. The male knocked on the women’s car window and accused her of taking his money. The male then walked away.”

The post is similar to copy-and-paste posts that have circulated within the past month. The earlier posts claimed that a “$100 bill wrapped with a red ribbon” on the door handle of a woman’s car is a “ploy sex traffickers are using to kidnap women and children” at Northgate Shopping Center in Revere, Massachusetts.

The copy-and-paste posts claiming such a sex trafficking ploy occurred in the Revere, Massachusetts area appeared on Facebook as early as February of this year and resurfaced when the later posts also went viral. Check Your Fact found that those claims were false.

Bradley Devlin

General Assignment & Analysis Reporter
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