Sex Traffickers are tagging “1f1b” on cars of potential victims.
A post going around social media claims that sex traffickers have very visible and unconventional ways of tagging potential victims. You’ve probably come across the “1f1b” post under the #SaveTheChildren hashtag. This claim alleges that sex trafficking deviants find and mark a woman or child by writing 1f1b on their vehicle or on their home. However, police in various states want you to know that this is not true and you should be cautious of indicators that are not so easily visible.
“1f1b” Claim Circulates among #SaveTheChildren Posts
A post widely shared under the #SaveTheChildren hashtag on social media alleges sex traffickers are using a visible tactic to “mark” victims. According to this post, the incident happened in New Jersey’s Brick Township.
The claim alleges that a woman, the friend of the original poster, was shopping at a Brick Township Walmart with her child and returned to her car that had “1f1b” in smeared white writing on the back window. The person who allegedly pointed that out to the mother claimed it was how sex traffickers are “tagging” potential targets to abduct.
In the picture of the alleged tag, the first character isn’t fully legible. The letters that followed seemed to read “f1B.”
Social media users interpret that the supposed tag is “1f1B” and translates to “1 female, 1 baby.” Allegedly, this is to convey to an abductor that there is one woman and one child in the vehicle.
However, federal and state police as well as human trafficking watchdogs want you to know that this claim is a hoax.
Authorities Debunk Sex Trafficker Tags Claim
Earlier this month, Brick Township police cautioned against this hoax claim going around social media. The poster claimed that local police had been notified about the “tag,” but Brick Township Sgt. Jim Kelly said the department received no such report.
Sgt. Kelly also said that they haven’t been informed by state or federal authorities about a serial criminal marking vehicles as “a method for anything.”
A similar claim surfaced in 2019, alleging that sex traffickers left black zip ties on cars, homes, and mailboxes. These posts claimed that the zip ties are either tags or a means to distract victims by abducting them when they are busy removing the zip ties.
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The hoax originated in Texas, where cops immediately disproved the claims. Snopes further debunked the zip tie hoax.
While it is important to be alert and aware about the global problem of human trafficking, authorities and anti-trafficking organizations do not want people to become distracted by purported seemingly benign tactics of sex traffickers like weird lettering and zip ties. According to authorities, these fake posts feed into the common myth about sex trafficking—that it often involves kidnapping or physically forcing someone into a situation.
The Polaris Project, a non-profit dedicated to putting an end to human trafficking, states “most traffickers use psychological means such as, tricking, defrauding, manipulating or threatening victims into providing commercial sex or exploitative labor.”
Save The Children, another nonprofit, says that often the victims are trafficked by someone they know or are close to. Online predators are a modern-day reality in the trafficking offense too.
Authorities like the Department of Homeland Security have listed some indicators to identify a human trafficking crime around you. The National Human Trafficking Hotline has provided more details as well.
Note that these indicators are commonly visible in human trafficking situations. The presence or absence of one indicator doesn’t necessarily count as proof, but you can still alert authorities to investigate.
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