As reports continue to come in on an increase in sex trafficking in the region, more incidents are starting to be reported to area police agencies concerning this emerging crime.
One such rumored report made the rounds on social media in Bay City Saturday and area agencies quickly had to check into the reported incident.
The incident was reportedly to have occurred at the Bay City Wal-Mart and quickly gained traction as the post was shared and commented on by numerous concerned citizens.
The Bay City Police Department was notified in regard to a recent attempted abduction at the Wal-Mart.
According to a statement released by the Bay City Police Department, investigators looked into the incident but corresponding video does not collaborate the report that was filed with the department.
“After the report was made, our investigators have been working diligently on the case,” said the statement. “After reviewing the video footage of the incident, there does not appear to be a threat to our citizens. At this time, we can confirm an attempted abduction did not occur even though the alleged suspect inside the store made the victims feel uncomfortable. We will continue to diligently work the case.”
Authorities said the recent rash of calls concerning incidents such as these should provide a strong warning to everyone when out.
Authorities warn that you should avoid traveling alone, at night, or on deserted side streets. If you think you are being followed, find a crowded place. Don’t hesitate to alert police to your suspicions and give friends and family members a description of the potential perpetrator.
The US State Department estimates there are 24.9 million human trafficking victims worldwide.
According to the U.S. State Department, there are several keys to keep from becoming a victim of sex trafficking including:
•Stay in groups when you’re out in public.
•Don’t over-indulge (or, don’t indulge at all!) when you’re out for these big events.
•Avoid truck stops or stops along the interstate when you’re traveling - unless you can stay in groups here, too.
•Be aware of your surroundings at all times.
•Be aware of who the other people in your group are talking to and where they are at all times.
•If you’ve been chatting with someone online, do not meet them in public by yourself. Ideally, you should take a parent, after they’ve okayed you meeting someone. Sex traffickers have been documented using social media to lure potential victims to them.