Viral moving truck video does not show human trafficking, police say


Viral Budget moving truck video does not show human trafficking—despite breathless claims online

The families were actually moving for a job.


Katherine Huggins


A viral video showing people riding in the back of a moving truck does not show a human trafficking operation, police confirmed on Thursday.

The video, filmed by a concerned citizen in Atlanta who called the police after witnessing a slightly agape Budget moving truck with individuals riding in the back, spread like fire on social media—but lacked context.

The video was shared by third parties who posted it along with incorrect information.

“It was later discovered to be a human trafficking operation involving a budget rental Truck full of kids being smuggled,” alleged RawsAlerts, an aggregation account on X. “Thanks to the brave driver who called emergency officials and provided valuable information, the driver of the U-Haul truck was arrested. The human trafficking operation was busted.”

“Human trafficking ring busted in Atlanta, GA,” claimed someone else, linking to the RawsAlerts video. “An astute driver made the call to 911 after noticing someone’s arm sticking out of the U-Haul. This is happening in America.”

The State Department estimates that there are 27.6 million human trafficking victims worldwide at any given time. And in 2021, more than one thousand people in the state of Georgia contacted the National Human Trafficking Hotline.

Human trafficking is a real issue—but the viral video in question does not show that happening.

According to the Gwinnett County Police Department’s account to Fox 5 Atlanta, two families—for a total of eight people—were inside the back of the truck. The families were not tied up or in distress, contrary to some claims on social media, and explained they were traveling from Alabama to Maryland for a job opportunity, police said.

The driver of the truck was also not “busted” for human trafficking, but did receive a citation for allowing the occupants to ride without seatbelts. The officers drove the vehicle’s occupants to a local business to arrange alternate—and safer—transportation to Maryland, Fox 5 reported.

While RawsAlert’s incorrect post remains online, with more than five million views, the account has since published an update—though the correction is in a separate post, not below the post with the incorrect information.

“There is no evidence at this time of human trafficking,” the account concluded.

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