Viral sex trafficking social media posts appears to be hoax: Burnaby RCMP

Jan 17 2020, 12:07 pm

Burnaby RCMP say posts being shared on social media about alleged sex trafficking incidents in the city are “causing unnecessary concern” to residents and at this time, appear to be a hoax.

On Thursday, a post began circulating on Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Facebook. claiming that a woman found a $100 bill “wrapped with a red ribbon” on her car door handle at Northgate mall in Burnaby and noticed “a man in a van” was watching her.

burnaby sex trafficking

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Burnaby Sex Trafficking

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The post goes on to say the woman “contacted the police and they told her to not go to her car and that it is a ploy sex traffickers are using to kidnap women and children.”

The post also includes pictures of women who recently did go missing in Burnaby, insinuating that they may have been victims of the alleged sex trafficking ploy.

One of the women has been located, while 23-year-old Shireena Dhillon remains missing. She was last seen in the 3400-block of Willingdon Avenue on Friday, January 10, 2020, at 6 pm. More information about Dhillon can be found here. Police, however, have not confirmed that these cases are tied to any incidents of attempted sex trafficking

Burnaby RCMP told Daily Hive that they are aware of the social media posts but to date are “unable to locate a report or investigation related to the complaint being outlined in the posts.”

Mounties add that the information in the posts has been circulated in the past in the United States and appears at this time to be a hoax.

“We would ask that if this has occurred to anyone in Burnaby that people contact us immediately but as of right now this appears to be a post that has unfortunately been shared on social media and caused unnecessary concern to Burnaby residents,” said RCMP.

“We caution people to think twice, do some research, and if they are concerned about whether this occurred or not to contact police before sharing these posts.”

In light of this situation, Burnaby RCMP said they are “committed to public safety and would like to reassure the community, should [they] have received such reports an investigation would have been immediately launched and a warning issued to the public.”