No, Human Traffickers Are Not Using Cheese To Kidnap People
We are never afraid to be servicey here at Wonkette, which is why we want you to know that if you happen to find a slice of cheese on your car, it is much more likely that you were visited by a kindly cheese fairy and not in fact being targeted as chattel for a sex trafficking ring.
Whew! Glad we cleared that one up!
But like so many other notions that once seemed too absurd for anyone to believe — like this lady's assertions that Hillary Clinton died eight months ago from kuru, a disease associated with cannibalism — it is in fact a thing that people are saying is a thing. Go figure, right?
An article published earlier this week on IHeartRadio warned women that if they go outside and see slices of cheese on their car, they could be being targeted to be kidnapped by sex traffickers. The source of this article was a TikTok video from a girl named Mimi, who claimed that this very thing happened to her. Not the sex trafficking part. Just the cheese. But she was pretty sure some dudes in a van put the cheese on her car and totally would have trafficked her had she not called her friend to help her get the cheese off of her car.
It might sound silly, but a TikTok user named Mimi is very serious about her experience. She posted a video which she said is "for all my ladies out there." In it, Mimi explains how she came out of church on Sunday to find cheese melted on her car. Likely thinking it was just some kids' prank, she called a friend to help scrape it off, but when her friend arrived, a white van with men in it two parking spots down from her pulled out and went to a lot across they street, where they parked so they could watch the women clean off the cheese.
Mimi said it took an hour to get rid of the mess and stated, "I personally had no idea that they were using this as a tactic to take people now and if I hadn't called my friend, I could have easily been taken in the hour that it took me to scrape off the cheese and this happened at my church, so I can't even imagine where they're trying to use this on people."
So just to recap: A couple of human traffickers were looking for adult women to kidnap, for the purpose of turning them out, so they got in their classic molester van and headed to a church parking lot early one Sunday morning, with a stack of Kraft singles. Then they watched as people came to church, set their sights on this lady and then placed two Kraft singles on her car hood hoping that when she came out, she would take the cheese off herself right there instead of doing it at home, providing them with an opportunity to steal her away.
It sounds ridiculous, but apparently enough people saw this and thought it seemed plausible for Snopes to have to write an article debunking it. As they explained, that is just not even sort of how human trafficking works and there no ongoing issue with cheese-related kidnappings that anyone has ever heard of.
The thing is, it's pretty understandable that this woman felt scared and vulnerable. Women generally have to be on high alert. It's why when many of us are in parking lots at night, we put our keys between our fingers and spin around like weirdos. It's why we don't help men with broken arms with their groceries. But coming up with outlandish "tactics" that nefarious and shadowy trafficking groups are using to abduct innocent ladies from parking lots does not actually help with anything. In fact, it probably hurts.
As the Montgomery Advisor article cited in the Snopes article explains:
[E]xperts say these stories — young girls snatched from their mothers in broad daylight, stalked in crowded supermarkets and kidnapped across the U.S. border — aren't true.
And worse, spreading them can hurt, not help, efforts to dismantle human trafficking.
Traffickers are too smart to try to snatch unwitting victims from grocery store parking lots and city parks, authorities say, despite urban legends that continue to circulate on social media. Though there are some cases of kidnapping in human trafficking operations, they are relatively rare. Some victims are coerced or forced into trafficking through familial or romantic relationships … Tuscaloosa Police Department Lt. Darren Beams said he's encountered victims who were promised money for college from a part-time job, only to become trapped in a trafficking ring. Victims most at risk [are] those without familial or community resources to turn to, or those fearful of authorities.
The belief in freakishly competent criminal networks who lure unsuspecting churchgoing women with cheese or ship children in Wayfair cabinets or build secret tunnels underneath daycare centers for the purpose of molesting children doesn't help anyone, least of all victims. Neither did "Stranger Danger," which had kids and parents looking out for nefarious strangers rather than people they knew — and it would later turn out that most child abductions were committed by people known to the children, frequently a parent in a custody battle.
So now we can clear the good name of cheese, which is delicious and not a danger to anyone who is not lactose intolerant.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse