Florence police: No known instances of human trafficking despite social media posts

FLORENCE, KY (FOX19) - Florence Police want the public to know that they do not currently have any reports of human trafficking or abductions in the city despite posts on social media claiming otherwise.

Police said they have received several inquiries in recent days regarding Facebook posts about people being approached and questioned by strangers at area businesses.

Those posts on Facebook have been made by residents who claim that the strangers, acting suspiciously, approached them at stores and asked for personal information. Some of the posters claim that the strangers are actually looking to abduct victims for human trafficking.

However, Florence investigators have said that while they encourage everyone to remain diligent, at this time, "there is no credible link to the group and any known instances of human trafficking."

Desiree Mitchell said someone approached her at the Walmart in Florence to talk about the bible.

"She said, 'Can I tell you about my bible study?' She said its a woman's bible study and take just a second," Mitchell said.

She said the woman became a bit more aggressive wanting her to leave with her from the mall and come to her bible study group.

"She said, 'I can show you more. I can bring you to our bible study that we have. I can teach you more about it would you like to learn more about the bible study that we are having,'" Mitchell said.

Several women on social media have said they too have been approached by these women trying to get them to leave with them for a bible study. One woman, who asked not to be identified, thinks it could be more than that.

"That's when I started to get nervous. When she started bringing over the people and trying to get me to go over to the car," she said.

The victim said she was approached at the Florence Mall. She even gave out her number and the suspects tried to get her to come meet their Jesus in New York.

"She texts me and asked me if I could come have dinner with them, and that I could come anytime. She called my phone seven times - and text me the address. My aunt went to the address ... so when she rode past the house it was a vacant house," she said.

Police stated that they are still actively investigating, but also said: "Please be aware that the information regarding this activity appears to be largely speculation and hearsay fueled by social media."

If you are approached by someone you do not know, Florence Police said you should not give out any of your personal information including your name or phone number. They also said that you should not, under any circumstances, accompany them to their vehicle or away from a public place.

Captain Tom Grau said there are currently no abduction investigations or human trafficking investigations in Florence. He is encouraging anyone who notices suspicious behavior to call dispatch at 859-371-1234 or 911 in emergency situations.

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