Sex trafficking rumors in Spokane false, police say

SPOKANE, Wash. — You’ve probably seen this on your social media feed. Flyers are being put on your car to distract you, then kidnap you for sex trafficking in Spokane. The Spokane Police Department said this is not true.

“We cannot find a single case of where anyone putting a flyer or a mark or a device or a item on a person’s car was used to then abduct that person,” said Sgt. Terry Preuninger with Spokane Police, “attempt to abduct that person, kidnap that person, distract that person.”

He said somebody was concerned about a religious and “somewhat graphic” flyer on their car. Preuninger said the person was concerned that it was being used to distract them, potentially making them a target to be kidnapped or for the purposes of trafficking.

“It was a set of circumstances that through whether you call them urban myths and legends or just stories that people have heard, it was just attributed to somebody thinking that they’ve been set up,” he explained.

Spokane Police Department said they got about a dozen phone calls about the post.

“Not a single complaint of an event,” Preuninger said. “Just people wanting to know what we’re doing with it when again, not our jurisdiction. We couldn’t prove that that was what the connection was. There was nothing for us to be doing.”

Preuninger said, if it was true, you would’ve heard about it from the department.

“If we had a report of that and we thought that it was substantive in any way, shape or form, regardless of the criminal case — that information would be going out to the public form us with our name on it immediately,” he explained.

There are ways to tell what is disinformation:

  • Search online for the information or claim.
  • Look at who posted the content
  • Check the profile picture of the account
  • Search for other social media accounts for the person
  • Inspect the content the account posted

Preuninger said if you have a question or see something suspicious, give them a call. They said they’ll let you know if it’s something you should be worried about.

READ: Airway Heights family shocked to find Airway Heights flyers posted to their car