Michigan State Police, Michael Shaw, Human Trafficking

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.

Comments (2)
  1. The video doesn’t match the story.

  2. Just seeing this story now. It’s negligence for cops to blow this off without more investigation. Predator go where the prey is and the prey is wising up and fearful of speaking to strangers on the internet.

    Human trafficking is rampant In the U.S. We have the highest numbers of sickos who seek out this kind of activity. Do an internet search of abductions from Target parking lots, you may be surprised at what you find.

    Many of these incidents were caught on camera by store surveillance, many happen in broad daylight with hundreds of people around who don’t want to get involved.

    The number of missing & exploited women and children around Detroit is staggering. Why don’t you focus your attention on that story instead of persecuting this man? Rapists also seek out large parking lots of major retailers, not a new trend, it’s been going on for decades. As a female, I was warned never to park next to vans and be leary if one pulls into a space beside me.

    The small town I live in in the Pacific NW, had (at least) 2 abductions, oddly enough from the Target parking lot, about 10 years ago.

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