A group of women believes that a TikTok recording saved their lives from potential sex trafficking.
In the viral video shared on Jan. 20 by TikToker user @moomoobitch20, three women sat at a table in the Chinatown district of Montreal. The Daily Dot reached out to @moomoobitch20 via TikTok comment.
While the girls vlogged their food, something strange was happening behind them. “Pay attention to this person,” the text overlay read.
The clip showed a woman in a dark hoodie standing directly behind them. She kept looking around nervously and even appeared to be communicating with someone in the distance.
She shook her head “no” and waved her arms as if to signal for them to go away.
The woman appeared unaware that the girls were filming a vlog of their Chinatown eats.
So when she said, “Sorry girls do you guys have some—” she stopped mid-sentence as soon as she saw the camera. “Oh, sorry for photobombing,” she said instead before backing off a bit.
“She never finished what she was saying and just hovered around us,” the text overlay read.
By Wednesday, the video had more than 28.4 million views.
@moomoobitch20 I THANK MYSELF FOR BEING ANNOYING AND VLOGGING EVERYTHING #trafficking #traffickingawarenes #fyp ♬ original sound – 🫂
According to Psychology Today, up to 35% of people involved in domestic sex trafficking operations are women.
There are different roles women play, such as recruiters (those who approach potential new victims) and madams (usually the leaders of the sex trafficking operations).
In response to the video, thousands shared how unsettled they found the situation. “That’s super scary wow, it’s when you’re least expecting it! stay safe,” one wrote.
“In broad daylight around other people wow,” another added. “Unfortunately sometimes people who traffic are victims of trafficking themselves. glad you’re safe!” observed a third.
One viewer suggested that they bring the footage to the police. “Honestly you should show this to the police cause you could possibly save other people getting traffic by them,” they wrote, their comment receiving over 277,500 likes.
Despite recording, some wished that the girls were more aware of their surroundings.
“You guys are not paying enough attention for me,” a user commented. “The fact YOU didn’t know she was there before she spoke. girl, you gotta become more aware of your surroundings for your own protection!” seconded someone else.
Others live their lives on high alert: “My awareness is so high I would’ve felt her presence and seen her through the corner of my eyes and been giving her mad looks,” said a third.
Whether the woman in the video was part of a sex trafficking ploy or not, viewers believe that she had bad intentions.
“Trafficking, robbed, kidnapped. Whatever she was planning was mad suspicious,” a viewer wrote with a crying emoji.
Several people believed that the woman was planning on robbing the girls.
“She was probably hoping to pick pocket you,” theorized a user. “They work in teams/pairs and often approach tourists at tables & engage while someone grabs your stuff.”
One person even shared how they encountered the same woman. “GIRL THIS GIRL FOLLOWED US WE WERE IN THE SAME PLACE. SHE WAS SO SCARY,” they wrote.
Finally, it was acknowledged that being on your phone 24/7 can be a good thing. “When ‘always on that damn phone’ saves your life,” wrote a viewer.