Recently, there has been an increase of social media posts about white vans being involved in kidnapping women across the U.S. for sex trafficking and to sell their body parts, but there is no proof that the claims are credible, according to a report by CNN Business.
A series of Facebook posts about white vans recently created a domino effect that led to the Baltimore mayor releasing a warning based on these unproven claims, says the report. Mayor Bernard Young warned residents to not park near a white van. Young said that he hadn’t been told about an apparent threat by Baltimore police but saw all the posts on Facebook, according to the report.
A spokesperson for the Baltimore Police Department told CNN Business that it had not received “any reports of actual incidents” with white vans.
White vans are predominantly used by small business owners and fleet operators.
In recent weeks, unconfirmed reports of suspicious white vans have been shared on Facebook in several cities across the U.S. According to CNN Business, at least one person who drives a white van has reported being harassed as a result of the social media posts.
One Facebook post in South Carolina showed a photo of a white van with two external locks, claiming that the locks were used in sex trafficking. Facebook has hired third-party fact checkers to help combat misinformation. A fact-check indicated that external locks are often used by businesses who keep expensive tools in their vehicles, according to the report.