CANTON (WWJ) — Michigan State Police is trying to dispel some myths about human trafficking in the state following a Facebook post that went viral.
In the video — which has since been taken down — a man is sitting outside of the Target in Canton, and talks about groups looking for victims in parking lots. He mentioned in the video that his wife and child were nearly abducted.
Canton police looked into these accusations but have found no evidence of this incident taking place.
Michigan State Police First Lt. Michael Shaw says most human trafficking begins with kids and the internet, and not in parking lots outside retail stores.
“We never in Michigan in the last 20-some years have had any kidnapping group or people that are actually scoping out parking lots for human trafficking,” Shaw told WWJ Newsradio 950. “You see a lot of this on Facebook and it just isn’t true.”
Shaw continued to elaborate on the myth that people are abducted in parking lots, stating the most common form of human trafficking happens within the home.
“The biggest location for victims to be contacted is actually the home,” Shaw said. “Most kids are contacted online through the sexual predators that are looking for human trafficking on websites.”
The man in the video also says that the state is ranked second in human trafficking, but Shaw says that’s not true either. That number comes from a sting operation earlier this year, where Michigan placed second in arresting suspects and rescuing victims.