Tuesday, November 30, 2021

MSUPD addresses viral human trafficking concerns

November 22, 2021
<p>The Michigan State University Police Department, photographed Oct. 12, 2021. </p>

The Michigan State University Police Department, photographed Oct. 12, 2021.

Photo by Devin Anderson-Torrez | The State News

On Nov. 15, an image posted on Snapchat and Instagram lead to rumors of human trafficking across Michigan State University's campus.

The post said there were signs of human trafficking at the Kellogg Center parking structure. In addition, the post claimed there was a baby car seat with a blanket over it and a red car in the distance. The individuals responsible for the post also said another pick-up truck arrived at the structure.

"A lady came out of nowhere walking towards us," the post said.

There is no picture of the car or the baby seat.

Chris Rozman, inspector of Michigan State University's Police Department, said the post has been shared with the department multiple times. However, it appears to be viral misinformation.

“The baby car seat related to human trafficking is a myth and has been widely reported as an unsupported claim on the internet,” Rozman said. “Other posts very similar to this one with different locations inserted appear in multiple places on the internet and all appear to be misinformation.”

MSUPD has received no first-hand reports or any suspicious activity involving human trafficking.

“We encourage anybody to contact MSU Police and Public Safety to report any incident that is suspicious in nature,” Rozman said.

According to the Blue Campaign's “Human Trafficking Response Guide for Campus Law Enforcement and Public Safety Officials,” human trafficking involved the use of force, fraud or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act. This includes imposing debt, psychological coercion or threats of violence.

Human trafficking does not require transportation to be considered a crime. Victims do not have to be moved from one place to another to be trafficked.

Traffickers reach victims through popular meeting places, social media/dating apps, peer-to-peer recruitment, deceptive offers of employment, romantic relationships or taking advantage of financial instability. They can be romantic partners, employers, community leaders, family members, friends, peers or strangers.

To report any suspicious activity on MSU's campus, you can anonymously text the word MSUPD along with a tip to CRIMES (274637). You can also leave a tip by calling 844-99-MSUPD (844-99-67873). For an emergency, call 911.

For resources, visit MSU's Center for Survivors.

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