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Article Published September 11, 2018
Guilford Police Refute Human Trafficking Rumors Spread via Facebook
Zoe Roos, Staff Writer

A few weeks ago, a post on the Facebook page Simply Guilford caused fear and concern among some residents. The post insinuated there had been an attempted human trafficking incident at a local store, however as the weeks have done by and Guilford Police investigated the claim, it because clear the incident was not as originally described.

The Facebook post was made in August and claimed that a young woman was in the local Walmart and claimed to have been followed and photographed. The post claimed police were called, the suspect was apprehended, and photos on the suspects phone included photos of the young woman and her car license plate, leading some to believe the incident was an attempt to traffic the individual.

Understandably, the post alarmed many on social media and the post was brought to the attention of the Guilford Police, where the story then began to fall apart.

“Recently there have been several social media posts made referring to an alleged attempted human trafficking incident taking place in Guilford,” police said in a press release. “The information circulating on social media was brought to the attention of the Guilford Police and Detective Unit immediately investigated. This information included claims that a female was being followed and photographed in a local establishment. The information went on to claim that the Guilford Police were contacted and this incident was reported, leading to the arrest of a suspect and evidence being recovered supporting the idea that the intent to traffic the complainant.”

The problem is police were never notified of the incident, so could not have been on hand to apprehend any potential suspect. The original post has now been taken off Facebook.

“Although the incident was never reported to the Guilford Police [Department], the complainant was quickly identified and contacted,” the press release continued. “All the information being circulated on social media about an arrest and evidence of an attempted human trafficking has been inaccurately reported. Guilford detectives are currently working with the original complainant to document the incident accurately.”

Guilford Chief of Police Jeff Hutchinson said the situation couldn’t be considered a false report because a report was never made. However, he said officers are working to figure out the whole story and remind residents that they should always call police if they feel they are in danger.

The Guilford Police Department investigates all complaints made, the department release state, and “Incidents of this type would be reported to the public through an official press release made by the Guilford Police Department.”