Woman Narrowly Escapes Tactic Used By Human Traffickers By Walking Into TJMaxx

Sometimes safety – and saving others – is all about being in the right place at the right time. For two observant woman it was all about noticing something off, and trusting their instincts.

This came up in a series of TikTok videos that all of us can learn from.

A dangerous signal

Haleywestco, whose real name is Haley West, told a story about being outside a supermarket while a man seemed to be hitting on her as she sat in her parked car. She ended up going into the store to hide until he went away, but then another weird thing happened.

When she left the store, she discovered a water bottle placed on the hood of her car. What was that about?

Turns out – nothing good.  Another TikTok user, Ellessb423, aka Elle,  explained that placing a water bottle on someone’s car is something that some kidnappers and human traffickers do as part of their process.

The idea is not to let the bottle distract you or slow you down and just to drive away – the bottle will fall off on its own.

Haley shared her story: “I’m leaving Fresh Thyme and I’m parked in this big parking lot. This guy was walking like kind of close to me, kind of not, but you could tell he was, like, staring at me while he was walking, and he yells over to me like, ‘Hey what’s your name?’”

“This man walks right up to my car and he’s like, ‘Come check out my car, it’s nice, it’s a Lexus, you like it?’ Like it’s my car! Though, I didn’t react to that, because that would have given away that it’s my car, although I think he already knows.”

“I then went across the street to this TJ Maxx. I got help, I made sure he wasn’t still out here.”

-Haley West

But that’s when the water bottle appeared on the hood of her car.

“When I came back out there is a water bottle on my hood. I don’t want that to correlate but that’s never happened to me. I just wanted to say be aware of your surroundings at all times, especially if you’re a woman, be careful out there.”

Elle said there’s a reason that kidnappers and traffickers do this. “This is a tactic used by traffickers and kidnappers to get you to exit your vehicle and take whatever is on top of the car.”

-Ellessb423 on TikTok

A plan of action

What you should do? Drive directly to the police station.
“If you feel extremely threatened by a person who’s following you, drive to a police station or an auto shop, they can look underneath your car and see if there are trackers there. Yes, believe it or not, GPS trackers can be put on the bottom of your car and they can give out your location for a certain amount of time. Never go straight home.”

Never take the risk

The point is, be careful and never take unnecessary risks.

“Traffickers don’t care how old you are, they don’t care what you’re wearing, they don’t care about your size, if they want you, they’ll try to get you. Always be aware of your surroundings, try to go shop with a friend, I know it’s hard during COVID, keep pepper spray or a protective device on you. Please stay safe,” Elle warned.

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