NewsHillsborough County

Actions

Police say viral Facebook post about alleged Uber sex trafficking incident is unfortunate misunderstanding

Posted at 10:40 AM, Feb 20, 2019

TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Police Department says a woman’s post on Facebook that has gone viral is an unfortunate misunderstanding between a ride-sharing passenger and a driver.

On Tuesday, a woman wrote on Facebook that she mistakenly got into the wrong car without checking whether her driver was the correct one.

“I got in before checking, as she opened the back door for me from her seat. She (then) drove erratically and didn't speak.”

She said 10 minutes into the ride, her actual Uber driver called wondering about her status.

"My voice cracked, because in that instant I knew. "A car... I think I need help." She told me not to hang up and to get out of the car however I possibly could."

According to the passenger, the Uber driver refused to let her out of the car. The passenger said she eventually got out of the car, while it was still moving.

The woman's post claims the driver was a ‘sex traffic worker.’

"I later found out she is a sex traffic worker. They use women to lure people in, and possibly hang out in the Uber lot to steal rides of similar looking cars. "

ABC Action News reached out to the Tampa Police Department. They said it is important for people to check they are getting into the right ride-sharing car.

TPD said they spoke with all parties involved. They said that the driver who picked up the woman was a legitimate Uber driver trying to pick up someone else. They said there was a language barrier.

According to Uber, the woman driving the car was an Uber driver, and after the rider exited her car, she returned to the airport, picked up the correct rider and dropped them off at their destination.

Uber reminds its customers to double check both the driver and the car before getting in.

The company also has teamed up with organizations such as ECPAT-USA, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), The McCain Institute, Polaris and Thorn to help raise awareness among drivers about how to spot and report human trafficking.