Are Sex Traffickers Using Bible Study as a Lure in the South Plains Mall? [Update]
[Update] An employee for a South Plains Mall store spoke anonymously to KFYO News about the Saturday incident.
The employee proved that he was the one who originally took the picture, which later went viral when another person posted it on Facebook, along with an ominous warning about sex traffickers using bible study invitations as a cover story.
We were told by the employee that maybe 10 seconds after they took the picture, two mall security officers arrived to speak to the two women in the left of the picture. The officers spoke to the two women, but then stepped a few feet away from the group for 15-30 seconds, letting them continue to talk.
One of the women who approached the girl on the right in the picture then took her phone out. It was then that the mall security officers re-approached the two women and presumably escorted them out of the mall.
[Original story] A Facebook post from a Lubbock woman claimed that women in the South Plains Mall were approaching young girls about bible study only to later force them into sexual slavery.
Natalie Jalomo posted a picture on her personal Facebook page with three women circled, warning people that they were "apart [sic] of sex trafficking."
Jalomo claimed that women were trolling Texas Tech campus and the South Plains Mall, targeting "women who seem to be alone." She said that they tell women about a "bible study," but are only attempting to trick them so they can later be kidnapped for sex trafficking.
After the Facebook post was shared hundreds of times, Lubbock Police Department Public Information Assistant Kasie Whitley put out the following message Saturday afternoon:
We have received several inquiries today regarding a Facebook post that seems to be making its rounds across social media.
It references women who are asking other women to join a bible study, but the post then implies that they may instead be part of a sex trafficking ring.
At this time, Lubbock Police received one call this afternoon, around 12:30 p.m., to the South Plains Mall by a caller who said these women were at the mall asking women to join a bible study group.
The caller gave our dispatchers a description and a location within the mall where the women were believed to be located.
Our officers responded to the South Plains Mall, walked the entire Mall, and were not able to locate anyone who matched the caller’s description, or anyone who was asking people to join a bible study.
The Lubbock Police Department would like to remind the public that if they are in a situation where they believe their safety, or the public’s safety is at risk, to go ahead and call the police department.
If you believe it is an emergent situation, we ask that you call 911, or you can always call our non-emergency number at 775-2865.
As we always say, if you see something, it is important to say something.
It's unclear how or why Jalomo linked the promise of a bible study with sex trafficking rings. So far, no evidence supports the post, which has been shared on Facebook more than 3,200 times as of the publication of this article.
If you or someone you know is the victim of sex trafficking, visit the National Human Trafficking website or call them at: 1 (888) 373-7888