On Oct. 19, a tweet went out warning students about possible human traffciking happening close to Coastal Carolina’s campus.
“Please be safe going out this weekend,” the tweet said. “There were three sex trafficking incidences that happened just last night, 2 on campus and one at Tongy’s!! Please do not go out alone and keep your guards up! Be careful ladies.”
That tweet garnered hundreds of likes and retweets, causing hysteria on campus.
Students have been talking about the human trafficking rumors going on around campus.
Vicki Loveday was not thrilled to hear about these alleged rumors being spread around campus.
“The fake news on campus is just people taking facts and gossiping and everything gets twisted and blown out of proportion,” said Loveday.
Back in the day for her, it was common to walk alone late at night, but nowadays you have to watch your surroundings.
“Walk with a friend and don’t walk alone,” said Loveday.
The Coastal Carolina Department of Public Safety responded to these accusations and rumors by sending an email out to students.
“Allegations have been circulating on social media regarding human trafficking in our community,” the email said. “In some of these posts, there are references to ‘Mother of God’. The CCU Department of Public Safety (CCU DPS) has been investigating these social media posts and states that no incidents of human trafficking or religious human sacrifice have been reported to CCU DPS, Conway Police or Horry County Police.”
The Department of Public referenced students to an article in the Orlando Sentinel, where similar rumors about men following women and trying to discuss ‘God the Mother’. These incidents were reported near the campus of the University of Central Florida.
“These stories — all of them unproven, according to police — have been spreading like wildfire on Twitter and Facebook pages popular with ‘God the Mother’,” the article said.
Freshman Alexis Winegardner received the email from Public Safety confirming that there was nothing to worry about.
“[I believe that] human trafficking [does] still happen around colleges [not just any school, in general, is going to stop human trafficking],” Winegardener said.
She does feel Coastal Carolina is a safe campus and if there was any danger CCU would figure it out. Winegardner has walked alone a few nights but has no fear because she is safe.
“Anything you see that seems suspicious go ahead and make the report,” she said.
Lieutenant Robert Pellerin also comments on the rumors.
Once the department heard about the rumors of human trafficking they looked more into it before they were given the okay to notify the school about the ‘false news’.
“Sex trafficking [goes on], they happen around the country,” said Pellerin. “Are we targeted as a university? Yeah, we haven’t seen any information that shows that around here.”
Pellerin s certain that Coastal Carolina is a safe campus and so are many students at CCU. Public safety does their patrols daily and works around the clock to make sure everyone is safe. If you ever have an emergency, keep an eye out for the emergency pole boxes if you are unable to access your phone.
“Feel comfortable calling law enforcement if you have any problems or questions with safety concerns,” said Pellerin. “[You cannot remain safe if you don’t know]. Encourage people to call because there is no harm in trying.”