Police refute Facebook video calling Great Lakes Crossing sex trafficking hotbed
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (WJBK) - A video surfaces online claiming a popular outlet mall in Auburn Hills is a hot bed for sex trafficking - but the city's police chief is setting the record straight.
"They're literally taking children from the food court and taking women and their kids from the parking lot," says the woman in the online video.
It's a video viewed on Facebook thousands of times, a mother sharing her frightening encounter with a strange man inside Great Lakes Crossing mall, asking questions about her young son.
"And he's like walking with me and it wasn't sweet or endearing" the woman says in the video. "It was weird."
Seeing that video prompted Auburn Hills Police Chief Doreen Olko to react.
"We've been over this and over this - and the same rumor continues to surface," Olko said.
That rumor has apparently been swirling for years she said, that the mall is rife with sex trafficking.
"I personally find it very distressing for someone to suggest being kidnapped from the food court at the mall," Olko said.
Olko calls the video reckless and said there have never been any sex trafficking incidents -- or anyone reported missing from the mall and if there were, they'd take those complained seriously.
"I find it insulting that some Facebook users suggested we are trying to hush it up or hide it," the chief said. "Nothing could be further from the truth. We are professional police officers."
Olko calls the issue of sex trafficking -- a chronic and horrific problem across the world.
"There's so little understood about sex trafficking," she said. "People are not kidnapped generally speaking."
Where does the real problem regarding sex trafficking and sex crimes exist? Olko says online.
"These predators find the kids that get involved in this sort of thing online more than they do, any other place," she said. "Apps like Snapchat and Kik, we are seeing these cases every day."
Olko says after seeing the Facebook Live video, detectives did speak to the concerned mother and are looking into the situation. That mother since posting, has learned a valuable lesson...
"If someone feels uncomfortable you should call the police - 911 is always our number," she said. "No matter where you are."