Thankfully, she trusted her instincts and drove off quickly.
People often return to their cars after being out and about to find flyers and even handwritten notes on their windshields that alert them to all sorts of events, bad parking jobs, or sometimes even pay-it-forward gestures. However, just as there are many harmless notes left on cars for their owners, there are also ploys that aim to put people in a dangerous predicament.
One such person who better understands the harsh reality of this fact is Sony Nguyen, a woman living in Wisconsin, whose daughter recently posted about an encounter that Sony had in a parking lot. In the Facebook post, the daughter explained that Sony was at the mall and parked by a Macy’s when she stepped out into the sunlight to return to her car.
As soon as Sony (pictured above on the right) reached her car and got in, a white SUV with tinted windows pulled up into the spot next to hers despite the parking lot being fairly empty with an abundance of available spots. Sony usually locks her doors as soon as she gets in the car, but even this added barrier between her and the SUV didn’t make her feel safe in a situation that immediately made her uneasy. She decided to go with her gut and quickly drove off, ignoring the tapping of something that was stuck on her windshield.
When she arrived at home, Sony decided to inspect the windshield and found a “gift” placed there with a message on it. After realizing what scenario could have played out if she had blindly gotten out of the car to retrieve the item while still in the parking lot, she was extremely thankful that she went with her gut and drove off instead.
Sony’s daughter, Savannah, explained on Facebook what might have happened if things had gone differently:
“This is exactly how human trafficking and abductions take place. They probably watched her get out of her car and placed it on her window, and waited for her to come back. Who knows what would have happened if my mom had gotten out of her car to see what was under her windshield while she was still in the parking lot. Of course a person would be curious and want to read the writing on the bag, but in the two seconds it takes you to grab the bag from under the windshield to read what is on there, it might already be too late. Bad things can happen in the blink of an eye.”
Activists that work with human trafficking groups have confirmed that this is a recent tactic being used to abduct women and suck them into the world of human trafficking. It’s scary to think that a small lack of awareness could lead to such catastrophic consequences. When the SUV pulled up, Sony was on her phone and had been since before she even reached her car, giving the abductors ample time to sneak up on her and use her distraction as a weapon.
Human trafficking often goes undetected and can be nearly impossible to escape from. Abductors use threats, force, violence, and payment to keep people under their control and those being trafficked are forced into prostitution, forced labor, and other horrible practices such as organ donation.
Please be aware of your surroundings at all times and travel with others whenever possible. Trust your gut and don’t be afraid to reach for or use weapons when in a questionable situation. To find out more about human trafficking, visit the UN Office for Drugs and Crime.
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