Close Encounters of the Sex-Trafficking-Abductors Kind

These “close encounters” with near sex-traffickers are like alien abductions. They are shared wildly — gleefully — by people seemingly thrilled to know this horrible scourge is out there so they can be scared and angry.

This latest story, from Reno, involves a mom and dad who noticed every detail about a night that sounds outrageously ordinary. They passed by some people they didn’t know! They went into the parking garage and there was a car — with people in it! They felt scared for their kids and compelled to write a Facebook post warning people everywhere about this terrible thing that, as usual, didn’t happen. Or, as the mom put it later:

Don’t worry about what it was or wasn’t or what did or didn’t happen, because it could, and it does, happen. Just because it didn’t happen to us that night doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen.

Um…correct. And just because I have yet to be tapped as Secretary of Energy, doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen. Here’s the story that somehow merited hundreds of words in the Reno Gazette — and even map!

 

Reno mom reports close call with child sex traffickers: ‘Something’s not right’

by Sarah Litz

What started as a fun family night at a Reno Aces game quickly turned into a night Reno mom Melody Holland would later describe as “the horror of horrors” in a Facebook Live video that has been shared more than 5,000 times and reached over 270,000 people.

On Sept. 3, around 8 p.m., Holland and her family believed they may have encountered four men possibly involved in a child sex trafficking ring as they were walking to the Cal-Neva parking garage on the corner of First and Center streets in downtown Reno.

Weirdly, I, too, walked outside last night and literally every single person I encountered may have “possibly” been involved in a child sex trafficking ring. Each and every person I saw might “possibly” have also been a Satanist. Or the owner of a Segway they’re trying to get rid of. Or been related to the Royal Family. It IS possible.

Within hours, the video started to be shared widely. People would share the video, telling other parents to watch out and to be aware. Friends were tagging friends, reminding each other to stay vigilant.

Yes! Stay vigilant because there are people out there! And there’s no way to say they AREN’T sex traffickers. So it’s best to just assume they are.

In her Facebook Live video, Holland told the story that started with one man she described as looking disheveled and wearing a bodyguard-type earpiece who was closely following her family to the parking garage.

I’m sure that “bodyguard type earpiece” couldn’t possibly be an earbud. It is so much more likely that the man was being commanded from Sex Trafficking HQ than listening to Beyonce.

Holland’s husband, Aaron, was carrying their 3-year-old son and Holland was holding her 5-year-old daughter’s hand and their 21-month-old son in a carrier when she started to feel like “something’s not right.” They had just crossed Lake Street and were walking toward First Street when the man said something too soft for the Hollands to hear, making the Hollands pause.

That’s when Holland said the man looked her daughter “up and down like a grown man would do in a club.”

Holland was trying to find a way out of the situation when she saw another man starting to approach her family from the opposite direction. She said she had heard of similar stories: One person would distract the victim and another person would “trail” them, waiting for the right moment to act. She was afraid her young daughter was being targeted.

The Hollands made it safely to their car in the parking garage. There they noticed a black minivan parked on the first floor near the stairwell with one sliding door open. The car was running, there was a person in the driver’s seat and another younger man standing by the stairwell.

It’s a wonder they lived to tell the tale. A car. A mumbler. More than one person in the parking garage at once. It is all just overwhelming.

So let’s just remember to be vigilant. Ignore that professor who studies child crime for a living who says he has heard of no children under 10 kidnapped by strangers for sex trafficking purposes. Ignore that notice from that California police department on Monday saying that snatching kids for sex trafficking purposes is so rare they hadn’t seen it.

Concentrate on the important things: People are probably trying to snatch your kids from you in public ALL THE TIME. And by the way, they have their choice of kids but only want YOURS because they’re the cutest. – L.

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The scene of the non-crime. 

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48 Responses to Close Encounters of the Sex-Trafficking-Abductors Kind

  1. Theresa Hall September 22, 2017 at 11:09 am #

    Sex trafficers rarely take small children they prefer teens and those they trick and force into it. As for the four guys they were probably just four friends out for a walk. Probably no big deal. Maybe try yelling sex trafficers after they try to get the kids. Not when you just bump into them on the street and they don’t do anything wrong.

  2. David N. Brown September 22, 2017 at 11:26 am #

    I have actually studied UFOs among other anomalous phenomena, and I do find some of these “incidents” reminiscent of certain paranormal reports (as I have commented before). The closest parallels are with entities that can generally be accounted for as straight hallucinations ( mad gassers, phantom clowns, etc). A common factor is for the witnesses to become far more alarmed than the perceived event would warrant, prob because altered consciousness suspends normal logic.

  3. Donald September 22, 2017 at 11:41 am #

    Being scared is fun. It doesn’t have to be true. In fact, it’s better if it isn’t. This is why roller coaster rides are so fun. You fool your brain that you’re in fall that will surely kill you! The hormones released during this time is bliss! You can watch Criminal Minds on TV and feel as if you’re in a real shootout without putting yourself in danger.

    I have surround sound and a 3d TV. However, I’m going to modify it. I’ll make miniature grenades out of hamburger meat. I’ll make the explosive trigger to a loud bang. That way when I see a shootout, I can pretend that I get sprayed with brain matter when the bad guys get shot in the head!

    This would be SOOOOOOO entertaining!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oetVvR5RQUs

  4. John B. September 22, 2017 at 11:43 am #

    You know, it’s crap like this that puts EVERYBODY in a frenzy. So then the next man to even smile at a kid will be ambushed and hogtied by 5 or 6 “vigilantes” and then undergo extensive questioning by the police. For what? Because he smiled at a kid in the spirit of friendliness because it was a kid like he once was?

    When I was a small child in the early 1960s, it’s frightening to now realize those adult men back then who smiled and winked at me really wanted to abduct and rape me and then traffic me into prostitution! (sarcasm mine)

    Americans really need to take this down a notch because it’s getting ridiculous.

  5. Donald September 22, 2017 at 11:47 am #

    You’re wasting your time when you discuss how unlikely it is to happen. WHAT’S THAT GOT TO DO WITH IT? Entertainment is priority number 1

  6. Claudia September 22, 2017 at 12:03 pm #

    These child trafficking rings in North America are obviously not very successful, as I’m yet to hear of any children snatched away from the arms their loving parents by some guys who the parents had just been thinking were acting suspiciously, and then bundling them away into a waiting car.

  7. Dienne September 22, 2017 at 12:10 pm #

    So if these guys were out trolling for kids to sex traffic, wouldn’t you think they’d at least put on a ski mask? I mean, I know it’s hot in Reno, but seriously, these guys just walk around to be identified by anyone they pass while they’re trying to commit such a crime? No wonder they’re not terribly successful!

  8. En Passant September 22, 2017 at 12:19 pm #

    From the account:

    There they noticed a black minivan parked on the first floor near the stairwell with one sliding door open.

    It’s possible that new traffickers are changing the Modus Operandi from white minivans. It’s also possible that black minivans are the trademark of Satanic ritual traffickers.

    In today’s rapidly changing world of unspeakable child trafficking crime, it’s difficult to know for sure.

    Oh, yeah. It’s also possible that the Hollands are bat$417 crazy, or that they are just trolling Fakebook for attention and giggles.

  9. SKL September 22, 2017 at 12:30 pm #

    Boy do I feel sorry for that woman’s children.

    She should check in with her psychiatrist and get her meds adjusted.

    I mean wouldn’t it be MORE scary if she was leaving a ball game and nobody was walking behind her?

  10. SKL September 22, 2017 at 12:34 pm #

    The funniest part is how anxious it made her to see a vehicle (and a couple humans) in a parking garage.

    I mean if that isn’t suspicious, I don’t know what is.

  11. SKL September 22, 2017 at 12:36 pm #

    I guess the implication is that the guys on the street knew exactly where this family had parked their vehicle – in advance of seeing them – and advised their buddies to lay in wait. Right?

  12. SKL September 22, 2017 at 12:38 pm #

    I think that if you start viewing your 4yo as a sex object, the law should require you to get a psychiatric work-up.

    Maybe there should be a registry for insane people who see monsters when they walk down the street.

  13. Joanna September 22, 2017 at 12:43 pm #

    Being Reno, those parents PROBABLY encountered a private security team waiting for their celebrity boss to return from the same game the Snowflake Family attended. Having been a naive young thing from the Midwest my first time (of three) living in Las Vegas when the Mob controlled the town, I quickly ceased to be surprised at what celebs, wannabe celebs, and just plain Nobodies With Money To Burn got up to. Reno would be no different. On the off chance that that “suspicious” bunch was waiting for someone to snatch, it’d be a celebrity to hold for ransom, NOT young children accompanied by their parents in a public parking garage. Mr. and Mrs. Snowflake need to become more worldly-wise and far less fearful of strangers, or move to a small town where men with “bodyguard earpieces” don’t make up half the working population.

  14. Christopher Byrne September 22, 2017 at 12:49 pm #

    Concentrate on what’s important: I’m in the center of a ripped-from-the-headlines drama starring ME ME ME!!

    The nation is afflicted with Attention Deficit Disorder as in: I’M NOT GETTING ENOUGH ATTENTION.

    Good heavens, kids, just relax and try to avoid turning your Facebook Live into a Law and Order episode.

    Remember when “news” was about things that ACTUALLY HAPPENED?

    On a serious note, because in case you didn’t know I was kidding above, this is a serious problem in a culture where value is ascribed to “eyeballs,” “engagement” and validation on social media. It’s pre-empting rational thought for alarmist stuff that will get shared. This is a dangerous trend because it allows situations like this to swiftly get out of control.

    And, I mean this seriously, what is it doing to our adrenal systems if we’re always on high alert? I don’t know, but it’s got to have some impact.

    Time to make “Chicken Little” required reading for everyone.

    *Sigh*

  15. Dean Whinery September 22, 2017 at 12:50 pm #

    Oh, golly. Now you’ve got me scared. Just last night a little girl, maybe four years old, smiled. And I, a scary seasoned citizen, smiled back. You know that “somethin’ could have happened”. Are there police lurking outside my door now?

  16. Melissa September 22, 2017 at 12:52 pm #

    Man, this story kinds makes ME want to kidnap this woman’s kids. I mean, I have never met a trio of THREE kids under age 6 that are so darn meek and well behaved that the parents have enough energy and attention available to be noticing such minutiae around them as a tiny earpiece on someone not even within their peripheral vision (walking behind them). When my kids were that little, I wouldn’t have noticed a bomb going off beside me while trying to get them from Point A to Point B in a public place! My colicky daughter would have been crying and my antsy toddler son would have been trying to dart away from me at any moment, usually into the nearest oncoming traffic.

    How blissful to travel through a parking garage with Stepford children!

  17. Joan September 22, 2017 at 1:01 pm #

    I can’t help noticing that the parking garage backs up onto a street called “Lover’s Lane”. I think they must mean “Child Lover’s Lane” right?

  18. Railmeat September 22, 2017 at 1:20 pm #

    I think En Passant has it here – I smell a troll.

  19. David N. Brown September 22, 2017 at 1:57 pm #

    @En Passant: It’s fairly common during public kidnap panics for child witnesses to give highly detailed descriptions of vans that can never be found, a pattern only paranormal investigators have caught onto. Amusingly, the usual picture is a rusted, busted junker that would be more of a danger to the driver than anyone else.

  20. Ashleigh Dowden September 22, 2017 at 2:17 pm #

    YES! I LOVED YOUR COLOR COMMENTARY!

  21. Barbara September 22, 2017 at 4:28 pm #

    Of course my kids are the cutest! And if you don’t agree, you are not my friend any more.

    SCNR

  22. David (Dhewco) September 22, 2017 at 4:55 pm #

    Journalism has always been about things that didn’t happen. When the USS Maine blew up, it was automatically the Spanish. Hearst pushed war like crazy, whipping up the public. The wreck was barely on the sea floor when the ink started hitting the paper, much less any kind of investigation. This is just more of the same.

    Sure, the ratio of ‘honest’ journalism to yellow seems worse now…but that might be because there are more sources.

  23. David N. Brown September 22, 2017 at 6:13 pm #

    A further and especially depressing thought: Given that ONE person apparently DID behave inappropriately enough to make the woman uneasy, her subsequent withdrawal from anyone else in the vicinity was among the WORST possible courses of action. She would have been better off chatting with the nearest passerby while her husband made a discrete call to the police. The fact that no mention is made of the latter’ s reactions would further suggest that she wasn’t nearly as concerned at the time as she may have brought herself to believe after the fact.

  24. Donna September 22, 2017 at 6:51 pm #

    Holy paranoia, Batman!

  25. Donald September 22, 2017 at 6:56 pm #

    “Remember when “news” was about things that ACTUALLY HAPPENED?”

    I actually did LOL on that one!

  26. Donald September 22, 2017 at 7:33 pm #

    “And, I mean this seriously, what is it doing to our adrenal systems if we’re always on high alert? I don’t know, but it’s got to have some impact.”

    You and I are on the same page. I’m 100% certain this is a major concern! (I don’t know if you’ll consider this a compliment or an insult)

    One of the problems is with fight or flight. Imagine if you have a car that has 2 petrol tanks. One of the tanks is filled with regular petrol. The other tank is filled with the fuel that a formula one race car runs on.

    The car was designed this way. It can easily shift into high-performance mode simply by switching tanks. This high-performance mode is intended for emergencies ONLY. If the car spends most of its time in this mode, it will sustain damage simply because it wasn’t designed for this.

    Anyway, it’s on one of my pages.
    http://www.psychologyinpictures.com/fight-flight

  27. SKL September 22, 2017 at 8:27 pm #

    Oh and as for the guy who supposedly backed off and started moving his mouth like he was talking – I’m guessing he was saying to himself, “what a freakin loon.” SHE was the person acting “not right.”

    I would love to hear what her husband really thought of all this.

  28. Holby September 22, 2017 at 10:28 pm #

    Soooooo…some guy had “what looked like an earpiece” and then was “mumbling”…or, as I like to call it, talking quietly into my bluetooth/earbud so I am not rude as hell to the general public who doesn’t want to hear my conversation. He should have just yelled.

  29. Donald September 22, 2017 at 10:31 pm #

    @Christopher Byrne

    Apologies. My punch line was ambiguous. I sometimes consider myself a nut case. When I referred that we are on the same brain wave, I wondered if that was a good or a bad thing.

  30. AB September 22, 2017 at 10:45 pm #

    This story reminds me of the time my grandmother wouldn’t let me out of her car to use the restroom at a strip mall because of a Cinco de Mayo festival going on in the parking lot. She was afraid that if I got put of the car some Hispanic people at the festival would gang up on me, kill her and my mom, and sell me to sex traffickers in Mexico as I was a blond haired blue eyes fifteen year old. So here I almost peed myself until we got to some big fancy mall that had a sign posted outside that no one under eighteen was allowed in without an adult. Luckily for me I could pass as a twenty one year old at fifteen so rushed into the mall to use the restroom. Then even at the fancy mall my grandmother decided to come in and wait for me as she thought such a big fancy mall could be a place for sex traffickers too.

  31. Crazy Cat Lady September 22, 2017 at 11:35 pm #

    Thank goodness! It was a BLACK van! I can drive around in my white van for another day!

  32. Troutwaxer September 23, 2017 at 12:38 pm #

    The problem goes something like this: our human alert system is pretty much designed to do two things: First, tell us that we’re being stalked by a lion. Second, to alert us to bad human beings. Sometimes we correctly alert to being stalked, and sometimes we correctly alert to a bad human being. Sometimes we combine both types of warnings and sometimes our wires get crossed and the “stalking lion” alert pages the “bad person” system.

    In noting a possibly bad person the Facebook Lady hasn’t done anything wrong (so far.) She should honor her alert system, track the bad person until they are out of her area, and stand down, (with the realizations that the bad person she alerted to probably wasn’t interested in her family, but that being alerted was important – we have these instincts for a reason.) This is how things are supposed to work.

    But then she goes on to invent conspiracies, unnecessarily add three other people to the list of people she’s alerted to, and then associate the whole thing with sex trafficking, which is probably an example of mass-hysteria, then she alerts her tribe to the wrong threat…

  33. AmyP September 23, 2017 at 1:18 pm #

    “I think that if you start viewing your 4yo as a sex object, the law should require you to get a psychiatric work-up.”

    You’re exactly right. My sister was a young mother and a little naive about how people can be. She posted some pictures of her baby having fun in the bathtub. The backlash was incredible. People said it was “disgusting,” “indecent,” “pornographic,” etc. My thoughts (and hers) were that if you see those pictures in that light, you’re the one with a problem!

    I was a victim of childhood molestation so I know it happens. Also sex trafficking happens. Extremely rarely, but it does. Still it’s not normal at all to view children in that light. Sometimes people have awful. experiences that cause them to be extra suspicious, and I feel compassion, but the general public (and certainly not the media) should not encourage that type of widespread thought. It may be a a reaction to something that happened to them, but let’s not pretend like it’s normal.

  34. pentamom September 23, 2017 at 5:02 pm #

    “There they noticed a black minivan parked on the first floor near the stairwell with one sliding door open. The car was running, there was a person in the driver’s seat and another younger man standing by the stairwell.:

    It’s early September, in a city in the desert. Is it JUST BARELY POSSIBLE they had the car running with the door open to cool it down while they were waiting for someone else to arrive and get in? Maybe the guy by the stairwell had moved from the vehicle to get better phone reception?

    They were parked “near the stairwell.” Yes, a certain percentage of spaces in every parking garage are “near” (that precise measurement of distance!) stairwells.

    This is classic paranoid thinking — making connections that are essentially meaningless and developing a narrative about how it is intended to harm you, personally.

  35. pentamom September 23, 2017 at 5:05 pm #

    I’m only moderately tech-savvy and I know what a bluetooth earpiece is, for goodness’ sake. It’s something people talk to their moms, business associates, and S.O.s on when they don’t want to be bothered with holding a phone up to their heads all the time.

  36. JTW September 24, 2017 at 12:00 am #

    “It’s fairly common during public kidnap panics for child witnesses to give highly detailed descriptions of vans that can never be found”

    And then come in the “experts” with their hypnotic memory retrieval and find dozens, if not hundreds, of “victims” among the adults and children in the area and those who lived there decades ago who all were abducted and sexually abused, only to forget all about it for years and years until suddenly under hypnosis they “remember” it all and now are traumatised for life.

    Which of course is the real abuse, those people never were abused or abducted, they had those memories implanted by the hypnotist.

    In every other field of law hypnotic techniques are for that very reason (massive unreliability) not allowed, but in cases of sexual abuse, and especially child sexual abuse, they’re applauded as a great way to “retrieve suppressed mental trauma”…

  37. joshua September 24, 2017 at 1:48 am #

    Congratulations on your appointment as Secretary of Energy!

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  39. C. S. P. Schofield September 24, 2017 at 11:57 am #

    @Troutwaxer

    Your remarks about a “Bad Human” detector caused me to wonder; how much of this imaginary stalker idiocy stems from the public being constantly told that people who hit the radar HARD as ‘bad humans’ are, in fact, wonderful selfless workers for that Common Good.

    Al Sharpton is clearly a ‘bad human’, every big time evangelist except Billy Graham hits my radar as ‘bad human’, Ralph Nader creeps me out every time I see video of him.

    Just thinking…..

  40. malren September 24, 2017 at 1:17 pm #

    I mean, you just need to see her profile pic to know what’s going on here. That “Let me speak to your manager” haircut says it all.

  41. pentamom September 24, 2017 at 3:34 pm #

    I notice she is constantly flogging her “home business” and how great it is for her on her Facebook, without ever specifying what it is she that does — smells like an MLM of the shadier sort to me. A not so tiny part of me is wondering how much of this is about generating traffic on FB.

  42. Dingbat September 24, 2017 at 5:06 pm #

    I agree with the notion that you should get a psychological work up of you start sexualizing your small child.

    Most do not seem to realize they are doing it. They accuse everyone else of sexualizing the children.

    (Off & on topic…)

    I’ve found this attitude common in religious conservatives and radical feminists. I’ve had more debates with both over thongs made for children than I care to admit.

    I view thongs as an undergarments meant to reduce panty lines under specific clothes/fabrics. Not all are sexy. Some are Plain Jane cotton. I can see some kids wearing them under various costumes (dance, gymnastics, cheerleading, Halloween, etc), especially if they have a mom that loathes panty lines. God knows it’s a source of fights between mothers and daughters. A daily thing… no. 6 year olds with a bad fake tan, muffin top jeans and a thong hanging out… no.

    Anywho, I have talked with many who believe that thongs being made for children is sexualizing them. One hanging on a rack in a store is sexualizing your child simply by existing. Why? Because they picture a Victoria’s Secret Model in a see through, lace, g string running down a beach and project that onto their child, while pretending everyone else is doing the same.

    No one is going to know your child is wearing a thong under their costume. People don’t have x-ray vision. If you think your child should not see their own butt when they change or use the restroom, I can’t help you. It’s not likely to cause your 8 year old to go wild. They’ve seen it before.

    If you think there are pedo’s lurking in every corner that somehow know your child is wearing a particular undergarment and see it as in invitation, you need more therapy.

  43. Dingbat September 24, 2017 at 5:49 pm #

    Have the thong debate! It’s a Rorschach test.

    I wish special interest groups (the exact 2 I mentioned above), the government and the media would stop pushing and adding to the trafficking hysteria.

    The intentional use of hyperbolic language plays a key role. It’s not hard to find lectures (dating back to the 1980s & 1990s, continuing today) from long standing 2nd wave anti porn/prostitution radical feminists making it clear that the language surrounding all prostitution had to be changed because the majority are not interested in abolishing it or carrying out a war against it. Human/Sex Trafficking, child trafficking, different story. It causes a more visceral, negative, panicked response and everyone wants to abolish it. From there the conflation began. Child sex trafficking makes people imagine small children being abducted, trafficked and held by force as opposed to the reality… runaway teenagers on the streets who refuse to go back into the system trading sex for food and shelter.

    I don’t know how people expect to address legitimate cases if trafficking when no one can be honest when having conversations about it.

  44. Beth September 25, 2017 at 9:48 am #

    @malren, I had to go look at this again to check out the haircut. Thankfully, my hair isn’t *quite* like that, because I’m the last person to ever ask to speak to a manager!!

  45. Michelle September 26, 2017 at 4:24 pm #

    These people are always thanking friends for warning them to be careful, saying otherwise they wouldn’t have noticed all the danger signs. It never seems to occur to them that they wouldn’t have noticed because there’s nothing TO notice. It doesn’t occur to them that they’ve probably been in similar situations hundreds of times and never thought anything about it because nothing bad happened.

    If there was a story going around that sex traffickers all drive blue cars, these people would get scared every time they saw a blue car, convinced that THIS one is there to steal their children.

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  47. DaveK September 27, 2017 at 3:37 pm #

    To be fair, it sounds like this women might suffer from paranoid schizophrenia. I would guess many of the parents responding do as well. People with paranoid schizophrenia attribute personal significance to random events. There is another online community of paranoid schizophrenics, the “gangstalking victims” who reinforce each others delusions, and this type of thing sounds very similar to their particular paranoid delusions.

    The shame is that anti-sex trafficking organizations are treating this as if it were credible. Sex trafficking is a real issue, but this simply isn’t related to the reality. The actual victims of sex trafficking are teenage runaways, drug addicts, homeless women, and sex slaves imported from other countries, not four year olds snatched from their parents.

    Saying that it “could happen” is irresponsible, because it’s confusing the actual issue and makes parents think their pre-pubescent children are at risk, which distracts from the actual victims.

    So while I do blame the organization, I think the women is atypical of the types of helicopter parents described here normally, as she is likely genuinely mentally ill.

  48. DaveK September 27, 2017 at 3:39 pm #

    CSP- off topic, but what’s wrong with Ralph Nader?