In the past week, the U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline has received numerous reports involving text messages claiming the recipient has an unclaimed package awaiting delivery. The concern being shared widely online is that these text messages are part of a scheme perpetrated by sex traffickers to gain information that will allow them to find and presumably recruit or kidnap potential victims.
While all contact with the Trafficking Hotline is confidential, we can share that none of this information came from anyone who claimed to have actual knowledge of this scheme, or to be concerned about a particular missing person. Additionally, none of the reports contain any information beyond what was publicly available online.
Polaris cautions against spreading stories with potentially misleading information about human trafficking recruitment tactics. Such misinformation ultimately causes more harm than good. Every report to the Trafficking Hotline is treated seriously and dealt with according to carefully crafted protocols. Handling a surge of concern over viral social media posts makes it far more difficult for the Trafficking Hotline to handle other reports in a timely manner and might result in wait times for people who have a limited window of opportunity to reach out safely.
Polaris encourages the public to educate themselves and others on the realities of sex and labor trafficking as well as the resources available to assist survivors of trafficking.
Visit our website for information about who is most at risk for human trafficking and what to look for to prevent victimization, as well as more information about myths associated with sex and labor trafficking, including child sex trafficking.