Girl Shares Burton Walmart Abduction Story, Sex Trafficking Warning
A young Flint woman took to Facebook to warn of the growing threat of sex trafficking in Genesee County by sharing the story of a family friend who almost became a victim while leaving the Burton Walmart.
It's the kind of thing most of us only hear about in movies and TV shows like 'Law and Order: Special Victims Unit,' but sex trafficking is a very real problem. According to The U.S. State Department, 600,000 - 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders every day. 80% of the victims are female, 50% are children, and 80% of the time it is for sexual purposes.
Trafficking statistics are not available for Genesee County, but prosecutor David Leyton has stated that it is a problem here. This region is especially susceptible to trafficking due to its access to multiple expressways, and proximity to the Canadian border. It is a problem that has only been amplified by the internet, which can be a useful resource, but can also be a hunting ground for predators.
Michigan has taken steps to combat human trafficking in recent years, one of them being the creation of the Genesee County Human Trafficking Task Force. So don't fall victim to the "It could never happen here" type of thinking. It can and does happen here, and could happen to you.
One such local story of attempted human trafficking is going viral, after a young Flint woman shared the story of a family friend who may have nearly evaded abduction at the Burton Walmart on Court Street. Apparently, the girl kept seeing the same group of men lingering as she did her shopping, and as she was leaving, one of them was walking behind her, and said into a cell phone, "Here she comes."
She could have easily been overpowered and forced into a van upon exit of the store, but instead she realized what was happening and rushed to employees for help. The message is a powerful one -- We live in an unpredictable world, and the most mundane of tasks (shopping, for example) could become dangerous or even deadly if done under the wrong circumstances. The young woman urges women and girls to refrain from shopping alone, and even said she had a similar experience recently.
If you are witness to any type of human trafficking, or believe someone may be in danger of falling victim -- please contact the Genesee County Human Trafficking Task Force at (888) 373-7888.
UPDATE: The Burton Walmart was unable to substantiate any of the events described in the above Facebook post via security footage or by talking to the employees. They also said that the Burton Police Department backed up that statement, saying that no such incident was reported. Walmart media relations said that if you ever feel unsafe at any time in their stores, report your concerns to an associate or manager and they will be more than happy to take care of it immediately, as customer safety is one of their main concerns, and they take matters like these very seriously.