Photo courtesy of Katie Everett

Peaked Human Trafficking Cases Concerns MA, Know the Signs

On January 15th, 2020, an 11-year-old girl named Charlotte Moccia was abducted after getting off the school bus in Springfield, Massachusetts.

An amber alert was sent out and the police acted fast to bring the girl to safety. Authorities went on to identify the kidnapper as a man named Miguel Rodriguez, 24. This man forced Charlotte into his vehicle and had her for an agonizing six hours, heading southbound. It is very much a possibility that this could have been a tragic human trafficking case.

Whether he was a part of a human trafficking scheme or not, this was still horrible for Charlotte and her family to encounter. Thankfully, Charlotte is now home safe with her family. Though this man is now in custody, there are still many other predators among us that we all must be vigilant about.

The human trafficking industry has been committing crimes at a rate higher than ever before. These people are luring their victims in with misconceptions, promises for a better life, and several other sick strategies. Here are some strategies human traffickers use to lure their victims in.

Human traffickers have been known to send emails to victims they have carefully researched in order to lure them in.

One example comes in the form of jobs, internships, and scholarships that students might be on the hunt for. Traffickers will write an email offering an opportunity that almost seems too good to be true. Then, they’ll schedule a fake interview in a disclosed location.

Students need to be more aware of what they are receiving via their email and verify all mail before going through with any offers.

Another reported sex trafficking scam involves a cryptic text message. Victims have received messages that read “Hey (your name), your FEDEX package with tracking code GB-6412-GH83 is waiting for you to set delivery preferences:” along with a link. If the person clicks on this link, the attacker now has access to their mobile device, information and more.

It is urgent that we are all vigilant about what messages and emails we are receiving.

Another strategy human traffickers have been using in order to kidnap young women is zip-tying their windshield wipers together. They will zip tie windshield wipers and/or your rearview mirrors in hopes that you’ll get out of your car to attempt to take them off. This gives the attackers enough time to grab their victim without anybody seeing.

This strategy has become more and more common in the past years. If you see a zip tie on your car, get inside and lock your doors! Do NOT get out. Call someone you trust, whether it is the police department or a family member, and make sure you get to your destination safely. 

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