Whether this is the real deal or an urban myth, one father has taken no chances in warning others about the potential peril of something they might not even notice.
TikTok user @boogeyman0302 alerted others on the social media platform of what he thinks is a danger to his daughter — zip ties affixed to his daughter’s car.
The user noted that his daughter works until 3 a.m., which means getting off work at a dark, lonely time when trouble often prowls.
In the video, which has had millions of views, the man narrating it says that for three consecutive mornings, his daughter has come home with a black plastic zip tie affixed to the rear door on the passenger’s side.
“I didn’t know what it was, I just kept cutting it off,” he said, 42 seconds.
“This morning, when found it, I went and I asked her, I said, ‘What’s the deal with the zip tie being on your back passenger handle every morning? For the past three mornings, I’ve cut it off.’
“She said that ‘Dad, I don’t know what in the world you’re talking about,’” he said.
The man relates that he spoke to a brother in law enforcement, who told him to cut it off immediately.
The man said he was told that “sex traffickers and people that basically steal … vulnerable women put them on a car somewhere where it’s not easily noticeable for them. But other people who actually do the stealing know exactly what that means,” he said.
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In short, he said, the zip tie alerts anyone who wants to kidnap a woman that the person in the car is vulnerable.
As noted by the New York Post, allegations that zip ties on a car have a sinister purpose go back to at least 2018, when police in San Angelo, Texas, responded to a spate of posts on social media about zip ties.
In that statement, police said there were no documented instances of zip ties used as a signal for human traffickers.
“The truth of the matter is that the ‘villains’ of sex trafficking are less likely to be members of a secretive network involved in a bizarre or convoluted scheme than they are to be some of your neighbors – a local businessman, pastor, doctor, lawyer, military officer, or government official. Sex trafficking simply would not occur if there were no customers – generally men – buying sex,” it wrote
“Similarly, while anyone can of course become a victim of sex trafficking, it is rarely perpetrated by a total stranger who kidnaps children. People – including children – who have other vulnerabilities are far more likely to be victimized, and often the perpetrators are people the victims know and may even love or trust,” it noted.
Sgt. Philip Krynsky of the Phoenix Police Department said his community has not seen zip ties linked to human trafficking, but refused to rule out what could take place.
“Currently that’s not a trend we’re seeing here in Phoenix, but that doesn’t mean trends can’t travel,” he said, according to KPNX-TV. “What we’re commonly seeing right now is the grooming that’s going into these types of circumstances with possible victims. This would include social media, gaming sites, dating apps on their computers and on their tablets and even on their phones.”