Social Media Posts Describing Predators Scrawling Letters and Numbers on Vehicles, Not Proven, Says EPD and HCSO
Brittany Powell, spokesperson for EPD, told us,
We are actively trying to get to the bottom of this. We’ve had about 5 people call in over the week reporting that they found something similar to 1F written in the dust on their window. I believe all occurred while parked at the mall. We currently do not have any evidence that these local incidents are connected to kidnapping or human trafficking, or if it is a prank. I’ve reached out to our local FBI office to get more information but as of now, we have not received any state or federal alerts of this nature.
We are currently attempting to get any potential video surveillance of the local incidents.
The EPD also suggested,
Continue to be aware of your surrounding and report any suspicious activity to your local authorities. Take notice of clothing and vehicle descriptions, and get the license plate if possible.Here is some information on indicators of Human Trafficking from the Department of Homeland Security: https://www.dhs.gov/blue…/indicators-human-trafficking
Samantha Karges from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office told us,
The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office has been made aware of “1F, 1C” being written on vehicles only through viral social media posts from all across the country, and most recently in a particular Facebook group for Humboldt County mothers.
The Sheriff’s Office has not received reports of this happening at any grocery stores within our jurisdiction nor have we received any abduction reports matching those being shared online. Our staff has not received any official intelligence briefings or reports verifying that human traffickers are marking cars of vulnerable persons by writing “1F” or similar on them.
That being said, we do know that human trafficking is real and does occur within Humboldt County. While we do not have official intelligence linking these stories being shared online to facts, we also strongly urge the public to remain vigilant and aware whenever out in public. If a person feels like they are being followed in a store or parking lot, seek out a store employee, notify them of what is going on and call law enforcement. If a community member observes something strange on their vehicle that they were not expecting to be there, do not investigate further. Get inside your car, lock the doors and drive to somewhere safe like your local law enforcement office. Please report suspicious circumstances to your local law enforcement.
I’d like to take this opportunity to share some human trafficking facts from the Polaris Project:
- Human trafficking is the use of force, fraud or coercion to get another person to provide labor or commercial sex. Worldwide, experts believe there are more situations of labor trafficking than of sex trafficking, but there is much wider awareness of sex trafficking in the U.S. than of labor trafficking.
- The most pervasive myth about human trafficking is that it often involves kidnapping or physically forcing someone into a situation. Most traffickers use psychological means such as, tricking, defrauding, manipulating or threatening victims into providing commercial sex or exploitative labor.
- Many survivors have been trafficked by romantic partners, including spouses, and by family members, including parents.
- One study estimates that as many as half of sex trafficking victims and survivors are male. Advocates believe that percentage may be even higher but that male victims are far less likely to be identified. LGBTQ boys and young men are seen as particularly vulnerable to trafficking.
- Human trafficking is often confused with human smuggling, which involves illegal border crossings. In fact, the crime of human trafficking does not require any movement whatsoever. Survivors can be recruited and trafficked in their own home towns, even their own homes.
- Labor trafficking occurs in the United States and in other developed countries but is reported at lower rates than sex trafficking. Human trafficking cases have been reported and prosecuted in industries including restaurants, cleaning services, construction, factories and more.
- Sometimes people being trafficked are physically unable to leave their situations or are being held against their will. More often, however, people in trafficking situations stay for reasons that are more complicated. Some lack the basic necessities to physically get out – such as transportation or a safe place to live. Some are afraid for their safety. Some have been so effectively manipulated that they do not identify at that point as being under the control of another person.
- All commercial sex involving a minor is legally considered human trafficking.
- Every trafficking situation is unique and self-identification as a trafficking victim or survivor happens along a continuum. Fear, isolation, guilt, shame, misplaced loyalty and expert manipulation are among the many factors that may keep a person from seeking help or identifying as a victim even if they are, in fact, being actively trafficked.