Advocates shut down social media rumors about human trafficking

[anvplayer video=”5145438″ station=”998122″]

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — There are new posts making the rounds on social media in New Mexico and beyond about a potential tactic human traffickers are using to target their next victim.

Posters say they find zip ties on their cars when they come out of stores, and think it’s a sign they will be targeted.

“None of that is true, and none of that exists, and none of that happens,” said Christine Barber, the executive director and co-founder of Street Safe New Mexico, an organization that helps victims of trafficking. She shut down the possibility right away.

“They will not target you as you’re going into Costco. They will not put a mark on your car, that is not how it works,” said Barber.

She’s worked with victims for fifteen years.

She is well-versed in how traffickers choose their victims, and says a majority of the time it includes grooming. She encourages you to look out for your family – daughters, sisters, even your best friends – for signs they could be someone’s next victim.

Barber says if a guy seems too good to be true, chances are he is.

“This can take weeks, this can take months. After the grooming process, the trafficking victim believes they have, often they believe they have this great relationship with the trafficker,” said Barber. She says 50% of trafficking victims are trafficked by their families.

“While we’re looking at zip ties on random doors in the middle of parking lots and we’re all up in arms about that the traffickers are out there actually getting away with it because we’re not looking in the right place.”

It’s important to think twice before you believe the first post you see on TikTok or the Nextdoor app about something like this.

“Put that fear to good use. Or switch it– and make it, I’m going to inform. So the next time you see someone say I got a zip tie on my car, I got a white dot on my car, in the parking lot– shut them down on social media.”

For more information about Street Safe New Mexico, click here.