When you hear the term human trafficking, what sort of places do you think about? Other cities? Other states? Other countries?

What about right here in New Jersey?

Afraid woman walking alone

Let's make no mistake here; human trafficking is REAL and it can happen anywhere. That includes right in your seemingly-safe hometown.

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According to the U.S. Department of State, an estimated 24.9 million people worldwide can be the victims of human trafficking at any given time.  Traffickers will profit by compelling victims into forced labor, forced child labor, domestic servitude, and sexual exploitation. Adults and children of all ages and backgrounds can be the victims of human trafficking, though women and children are much more likely to be targeted.

Victim of rape
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I've been seeing a disturbing increase of women on TikTok telling their stories about how they feel they narrowly escaped being kidnapped/trafficked after being stared at and followed by strange men and women under suspicious circumstances. But this was the first time I came across a story from someone right here in New Jersey, in an area I'm familiar with.

TikTok user @gracie.spinaa took to the app to warn others about her chilling experience at a Walmart in Egg Harbor Township NJ, where she says she was stared at and followed by a man, who she felt in her gut, was up to something sinister. She was literally shaking telling her story. The video has over 705.6K views.

Credit: TikTok @gracie.spinaa
Credit: TikTok @gracie.spinaa

In her video, she recounts how the suspicious man stared at her and tracked her down at the self-checkout even after she rushed away to the other side of the Walmart to avoid his eerie presence.

She then recruited the help of two Walmart security guards to keep a look out for the man and walk her to her car. Upon leaving the store, they noticed a black van with sliding doors waiting about 20-30 feet from the store entrance with its hazard lights on.

After driving around aimlessly to make sure no one was following her home, she did a sweep of her car for zipties, tags, trackers, or other foreign objects that would indicate her being targeted.

Hear her entire story below.

*WARNING: This video contains some foul NSFW language that may be disturbing to some viewers.* 

In her video caption, she explains that she contacted the police to search the parking lot for the suspicious black van.

Here is the description she gave for the man:

"DESCRIPTION: he was 40’s/50’s white man, long grey hair in a ponytail, grey beard, wearing a grey tank top and jeans."

This is a chilling reminder to everyone, especially women and children, to BE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS. Listen to your survival instincts. If you're being followed or if you feel like you're in danger, leave and seek help immediately. It's also a good idea to carry around self protection items like pepper spray.

The U.S. Department of States urges: "If you are in the United States and believe someone may be a victim of human trafficking, call the 24-hour National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or report an emergency to law enforcement by calling 911."

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