There's no doubt that human trafficking, aka, sex slavery, is a huge problem in the United States.
While it's true there are tons of women who are imported and brought to the US from other countries, US nationals are oftentimes kidnapped and forced into prostitution as well.
Kidnappers employ all sorts of methods to lure women out of safety and into situations where they can easily be cornered or overpowered.
Something that Facebook user Ashley Hardacre came face-to-face with recently when she noticed a flannel shirt was wrapped around the windshield wiper of her car.
In a now viral Facebook post that's been shared over 103,000 times, Hardacre detailed the scary reality she faced just hours after her mother warned her of the tactic kidnappers used to catch girls unaware.
"As some of you know I work at a store in the Mall out in flint. I worked a closing shift tonight so me and the girls I work with always walk out together to make sure we are safe in the parking lot.
"I got to my car and locked the doors behind me immediately as I always do and noticed that there was a blue flannel shirt on my windshield. There were two cars near me and one was running so I immediately felt uneasy and knew I couldn't get out to get it off."
"At first I thought maybe someone had just thrown it on my car for some odd reason. I used my windshield wipers to try to get them off but the shirt was completely wrapped around my wiper blade. I had seen posts lately about people finding things under their windshield wipers in the burton/Flint area as an attempt to get girls out of their cars and distracted."
"Luckily I knew better than to remove the shirt with cars around me so I drove over to a place where I was safe and quickly rolled down my window and got the shirt off."
"I don't know why the shirt was on my car but it had to have been intentional the way it was put on there. I really can't think of another reason as to why someone would put it on my car."
"Tomorrow I am informing security of the situation and making them walk me to my car from now on. It definitely frightened me a little bit. I'm so glad my parents had informed me that it was happening in our area, I just never thought it would potentially happen to my car."
People were happy that Ashley was safe and sound, and applauded her for sharing the message.
A similar tactic was employed in an Appleton, Wisconsin mall parking lot in the summer of 2016.
Savannah Nguyen wrote a post about kidnappers leaving rings on people's car windshields, while sandwiching the person's vehicle between two running cars in the hopes they'll get out and grab the ring.
"My mom was in Appleton at the mall, and parked at Macy's."
"She was alone and looking at her phone as she was leaving the building and approaching her car. Right after she got in, still looking at her phone, she noticed a large white SUV with tinted windows pull into the spot next to her. She always habitually locks her door as soon as she gets in the car (thankfully)."
"She said she felt a little uneasy because there were so many other empty parking spaces, but they pulled up right next to her car immediately after she got in, so she decided to drive away. On her way home, she could hear something tapping against her windshield, but she didn't want to stop. When she got home and out of the car, she found this under her windshield wiper."
"This is exactly how human trafficking and abductions take place. They probably watched her get out of her car and placed it on her window, and waited for her to come back. Who knows what would have happened if my mom had gotten out of her car to see what was under her windshield while she was still in the parking lot."
"Of course a person would be curious and want to read the writing on the bag, but in the two seconds it takes you to grab the bag from under the windshield to read what is on there, it might already be too late. Bad things can happen in the blink of an eye."
"I STRONGLY urge everyone to tell your loved ones about this scenario, whether it be your daughter, son, sister, brother, mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, or friends - and/or share this post and get the word out. This happened in broad daylight to my own mom (a forty something year old mother of four) in Appleton, WI, and could happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time."
"Human trafficking and kidnapping is real, and not a topic to be taken lightly. You don't think it will happen to you until it does. I stop by the mall by myself all of the time. After this situation, I would not recommend anybody go there by themselves, or go anywhere by themselves for that matter. Especially teenage girls."
"ALWAYS try to travel in groups, and ALWAYS stay alert in parking lots or public places, especially at night. Don't look at your phone when you're walking to your car, and if you don't have pepper spray, hold your hand in a fist with your keys between your fingers, perpendicular to your bones, until you get into your vehicle."
"It is so easy for predators to lure or target young women who are alone. So be smart, stay alert, and make it a priority to learn to defend yourself physically. Some people's instincts and reactions don't kick in until after the few seconds it takes for someone to sneak up and grab you from behind, and god forbid it be too late to save yourself. PLEASE BE CAREFUL!!!!"
So if you notice that something's on your car windshield and there's a running car nearby, try driving a way a little bit before removing it. And definitely report it! (h/t wpxi)
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