WPD: viral human trafficking post only half true

Posted: Updated:
WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -

"If somebody is trying to kidnap somebody in public, it's gonna cause a scene. They're gonna get caught."

Jennifer White knows what human trafficking looks like. She's been the director of ICT S.O.S since 2011, and she's no stranger to posts about trafficking that aren't true. 

This past weekend, a woman posted a message to the Next Door app and it was shared to Facebook. Since then, it's gone viral. She says. "Beware ladies!" She goes on to recall a story of how she was shopping at the Towne East Mall when she was approached by a woman who asked her to watch her child. She says she thought it was strange and said no. Then, she went and reported the incident to security. 

The Wichita Police Department says this part of the story is all true. She goes on to write that the security officer told her that this was all part of a human trafficking stunt and that if she would have agreed to watch the child, she would have been taken. This, according to police is not true.

"This person was probably made to feel very uncomfortable and the fact that they reported it to law enforcement is great," says White. 

WPD responded to the post by saying in part, "WPD has not received any recent reports of human trafficking cases stemming from a person being lured into a vehicle."

White says human trafficking almost never starts with a kidnapping.

"It's somebody that's building a relationship with somebody in order to then be able to exploit them. If you think about it, that's much more effective long term."

She says most cases start online, not in person. This is why parents should be vigilant about checking their childrens' online accounts. 

If you see a post like this, always verify the information with police or a news source before sharing it online.

Check out these photos from across KAKEland snapped by our viewers, staff and local officials. Do you have pictures to share with us? Email them to news@kake.com.

MORE SLIDESHOWS HERE