Expert says social media scare takes away from human trafficking - FOX34 Lubbock

Expert says social media scare takes away from human trafficking issue

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

UPDATE: Church of God releases the statement below regarding allegations. 

"Recently the World Mission Society Church of God has been facing false allegations related to sex trafficking. We feel saddened that these false allegations are taking away from the true issue of sex trafficking while defaming the church as well. From this situation, our members now face issues when expressing their faith. The Church of God's mission is to spread the love of Heavenly Mother by preaching the word of God and being involved in community service through out the world, which we also hope to share with the community of Lubbock."

It is a social media post that has caught on like wild fire. It claims a religious group that preaches "God the Mother" is involved with sex trafficking and uses a bible study to lure women.

Over the past few weeks, several Texas Tech students have received this invitation. Two women approach students about "God the Mother". Sarah Bordelon said she did not think much of it until days later when posts popped up on her social media.

"I didn't see them approach anybody else," Bordelon said. "So to gauge whether that was off or not, I didn't feel threatened until afterward when people started making a big deal about it."

These claims have yet to be proven true. Anna Claire Beasley, founder of the Tech organization 'Students Ending Slavery' said all it takes is a Google search to learn these accusations are false.

"In each of these campuses the local police departments did an investigation and each time, came up short.," Beasley said. "There was nothing empirical data." 

Since several students have complained to Tech this group makes them feel uncomfortable, Tech PD has asked them to leave campus and said they have complied.

"If you feel uncomfortable, you don't have to talk to them," Beasley said. "Just like with anyone, if anyone approaches you, you know you don't have to talk to them and if you feel really uncomfortable and they're at your house, you can call the police if you need to but I just think we need to be careful not sharing this experience online saying this is sex trafficking unless it is." 

Beasley said this rumor is taking away from the real issue. 

"Sex trafficking definitely happens in Lubbock," Beasley said. "It's a big issue in most communities, and there's a lot of good work being done in Lubbock to combat it and I think when we sensationalize it and we kind of make it about us, that's when it can take away because we're not actually helping anyone by posting false information on the internet." 

she said it is unlikely traffickers will target a college campus since most victims are low-income teens.

"Low risk, high profit, so is it low risk for somebody to try to come onto Tech campus and try to grab random strangers, probably not," Beasley said.

Lubbock police have received reports of both the posts and interactions with this group and have not found any evidence of trafficking. We have reached out to the church and they have yet to respond.

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