Human Trafficking TikTok Hoax

Human Trafficking TikTok Hoax

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Human Trafficking TikTok Hoax refers a rumor that sex traffickers attach zip ties to car windows to distracted a female target. The rumor first spread online in October 2018 and was debunked by the San Angelo police in a statement[1] saying they weren't aware of the tactic. The rumor resurfaced on TikTok in July 2019 due to a popular video in which one users explains the rumored zip tie maneuver.


On July 28th, 2019, TikTok user @ohokaygirl posted a video in which she shares a Human trafficking tactic she heard from her mother which gained over 700,000 likes in two days.[5] On July 30th, Twitter user @TaylorLorenz shared the TikTok video that had since been deleted saying, "TikTok is being used to spread a completely fake internet hoax about zip ties on cars and human trafficking. These vids have hundreds of thousands of views" (shown below). The tweet gained over 40 likes in a day.


In October 2018, rumors regarding zip ties being used as an indication of a targeted female was beginning to spread on Facebook. On October 16, 2018 various news outlets like radio stations (shown below) shared verification from the San Angelo Police Department[2] that the information was just a rumor.

KKSA 1260 AM October 16, 2018 KKSA San Angelo Police have received inquiries concerning viral social media posts about black zip ties being used to target potential victims of human trafficking. One post was concerning a zip tie that was placed on a local woman's vehicle mirror. In another post, a warning message stated that sex traffickers were placing black zip ties on the lamp posts, houses, apartments, and fences of their intended female targets. The Police Department has not received any reports of human trafficking, kidnappings or attempted kidnappings relating to human trafficking nor have they received reports of black zip ties being used as a means to mark a target of any type of crime. Officials remind citizens to not spread rumors or unverified information through social media. but they urge citizens to seek out resources concerning the validated warning signs of Human Trafficking and ways to take action


On July 30th, 2019, Twitter user @TaylorLorenz[3] went on to post a screenshot of some comments posted to the original TikTok video noting that "At least most of the teens on TikTok are smart enough to know what a dumb internet rumor looks like" (shown below, left). The next day, @babycalz,[4] the original poster of the video, replied by saying, "Sorry but this is a very real issue in the world and my intentions were pure…please don’t make me seem like a bad person on the internet…I was only bringing an issue to light that most people skip over…" (shown below, right).

Taylor Lorenz @TaylorLorenz At least most of the teens on TikTok are smart enough to know what a dumb internet rumor looks like Human trafficking 16486 comments X gamer_gorls DO NOT smell the perfume they ask you to 26.1k 3d smell/sample, DO. NOT. ratchet_hoe also they tie scarfs to the mirrors, so do not 9406 try to untie them!3d jazzystea !and after you drive off make sure to check 13.1k your back 3d savannahmazzz they are also throwing eggs on your window so you pull over when driving DO NOT 30.9k PULL OVER ! 3d mintpodthothoe ! IF YOU SEE I A DIAPER UNDER YOUR 12.6k WHEEL AFTER YOU COME BACK PICK IT UP THROW IT ASAP AND DRIVE THEY HAVE 3d NAILS IN THEM Say something 10:27 AM Jul 30, 2019 Twitter for iPhone Makaila @babycalz Replying to @TaylorLorenz Sorry but this is a very real issue in the world and my intentions were pure...please don't make me seem like a bad person on the internet... was only bringing an issue to light that most people skip over... 12:18 PM Jul 31, 2019 Twitter for iPhone

Since the TikTok post was uploaded, Snopes[6] updated their page on the zip tie hoax to include the social media resurgence in 2019 and reiterated that there have been no official reports of the tactic being used.

Various Examples

laura e. reineke @ohonestly Replying to @ TaylorLorenz "My mom just informed me" okay well if your MOM said it then it MUST be true 10:26 AM Jul 30, 2019 TweetDeck Steadfast Wondering @manicmingos So just saw a thing about how there is a human trafficking tactic where they will put a zip tie on your side car mirror in order to distract you before kidnapping you Be safe out there y'all, just drive away 10:47 AM - Jul 29, 2019 Twitter for Android Jason Keath @jasonkeath Replying to@TaylorLorenz The viral nature of TikTok and the permanence/trust of selfie style videos really is a boiling pot. It will become a fake news hub. A political tool to hack. More so than Facebook ever was. 9:19 AM Jul 31, 2019 Twitter for iPhone CAHŁO FØŁHNA @So_L_sing_ We love having anxiety over the whole human trafficking zip tie thing going on 9 2:12 AM Jul 30, 2019 Twitter for iPhone alyssa @alyssatheidiot gals, be careful out there! today I saw a zip tie on a cars drivers' side door handle in the Petco parking lot (in NC, not MI)! this is the newest human trafficking trick out there. people are tagging the cars of girls who are out alone and then they're stalking/following them! 12:12 AM Jul 31, 2019 Twitter Web App HeathensxHammer @heathensxhammer still havent seen a single real report of the zip tie sex trafficking stuff everyones rt'ing. yall are doing the same s--- your parents do on facebook. and ifI was a s--- head teenager Id be doing that for fun to scare people. 7:06 PM Jul 28, 2019 Twitter for Android

Search Interest

External References

[1] Gosanangelo – Sex Trafficking Scare

[2] Facebook – KKSA1260am

[3] Twitter – TaylorLorenz

[4] Twitter – Babycalz

[5] DailyDot – TikTok Human Trafficking Hoax

[6] Snopes – Zip Ties Cars

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