A warning from “the ghetto of Hamtramck”: Beware the Muslim, Uber-hacking human trafficking ring

As Detroit social media seems to be going crazy over this Facebook post, I thought I’d share it here so those of you who have been banned from social media could weigh in. It’s a wild story, and the online debate it’s given rise to about whether or not the young woman who posted it may have embellished just a bit is growing increasingly intense.

hamtramckstory

Interestingly, I just looked at the Facebook accounts of a few of my friends in Hamtramck and it looks as though former Ypsilantian Steve Cherry may have been at Kelly’s Bar the very night this allegedly went down. I’m going to write to him now and see if he might have any insight for us. In the meantime, keep your eyes open and be safe, especially if you’re in Hamtramck, where society seems to be unraveling at the seams.

For what it’s worth, I don’t doubt that the woman who posted this felt as though she was in danger on the evening in question, and, by posting this, my intention isn’t to make things worse for her in any way, which is why I chose to leave her name out of it, and not link to the Facebook post in question. Based on her original post and her comments that followed, she seems sincere, and I’m not going to just assume, like a lot of folks have, that all of this is pure fiction. (A lot of people are comparing this story to the one told recently by Ryan Lochte in Rio.) For all I know, she really did have a bad experience with an Uber driver who she felt intended to do her harm, and, if that’s the case, I think she probably did the right thing by trusting her gut, and getting herself out of that situation. With that said, the rest of her story does not jive with what I know to be true about Hamtramck, which is actually a beautiful town with decent cell coverage. Also, having been to Kelly’s Bar, I don’t really see them as being the kind of folks who would be “in on it” with a gang of Muslim hacker super-criminals who have constructed a system to export sex slaves from Hamtramck. No, I think they’re probably content just to serve drinks.

UPDATE: I just received the following statement from Matt Luke of Kelly’s Bar.

“For the record, I’ve lived in Hamtramck for three years and worked here for six, and I’ve never heard of anything like this ever happening. And, trust me, it may appear differently to the outsider’s eye, but society here is far from “falling apart at the seams.” It’s a super diverse community, and, in many ways, ahead of its time in America. And I think you’d be genuinely surprised at how peacefully everybody coexists in Hamtramck. I’m not sure what this woman’s intentions are, but she’s clearly tapping into the Islamaphobia that’s so prevalent in mainstream America. I have MANY Muslim neighbors, and the behavior she described is completely contrary to everything I’ve observed and experienced from them.”

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31 Comments

  1. Eel
    Posted August 25, 2016 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    When you have the protection of God, you are invincible, even in Hamtramck, where hooded Muslim gangs have blocked cell service and hacked all of the ride sharing apps.

  2. Eel
    Posted August 25, 2016 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    Also, generally speaking, human traffickers don’t kill people, as it’s bad for business. (Live slaves fetch considerably more on the black market than dead ones.) So I doubt that these Muslim human traffickers were trying to “murder” her. I know that may be little consolation, but I felt compelled to share that.

  3. Kestral
    Posted August 25, 2016 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    I think it’s more likely that their organs were going to be harvested for kishkas at the Polish Village Cafe.

  4. Maria E. Huffman
    Posted August 25, 2016 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    so the worst taxi driver we had had no idea how to turn on defog the taxi’s windshield after we all got in. The windshield was so fogged up the man could not see the highway. Jim leant over and pushed the right button and the honking behind us subsided.
    He was foreign, with an accent…could not have been nicer… the man had no idea how to drive in Michigan.
    so…did they file a police report about the whole thing?

  5. Gillian
    Posted August 25, 2016 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    So, I recently learned that Michigan is the #2 state for international human trafficking–it helps to be next to an International border, but apparently the Auto Show and Art Prize are big prostitution draws, and the need for migrant workers in the fruit farming areas of the state adds to the draw. Who knows what was going on in this case but I guess it is a much bigger issue than I had given it credit for.

    The reason I was reading up on it (shameless plug) is that we’re having a session at the library about Human Trafficking at the library. The group putting it on is the Citizen Education Law Clinic, which is a nonprofit that works to educate Michigan citizens about their legal rights in the face of prominent issues–so Human Trafficking is high on their list too–It’s Oct. 11, 7pm, at YDL-Whittaker.

  6. Lynne
    Posted August 25, 2016 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    It is always difficult to get the truth out of a story like that where the teller of the story clearly has some strong biases. I have issues with Uber and Lyft though in that they don’t do background checks on drivers or anything as far as I know. Still, the story seems wrong to me. I suspect that what actually happened is they got a driver with a bit of a language barrier who didn’t understand them. Still, I wasn’t there. Maybe he did want to hurt them somehow and maybe they did escape something terrible. I hate the way they look at Hamtramck though. Someone needs to shove a paczki up their butts of something. dang

  7. Scott Trudeau
    Posted August 25, 2016 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    I’ve been seeing a lot of these “human traffickers” scare posts on Facebook lately. Usually older, white Republican (sometimes but not always Trump leaning) women. They seem to be the new “don’t flash your headlights at an unlit car in the dark or you’ll get murdered by gang members” posts, and when you point out obvious flaws, exaggerations or absence of evidence they dismiss it and say “better be safe than sorry.”

    I’ve seen a few variants where people have seen to have had awkward encounters with people with foreign accents/speaking foreign languages at grocery stores with their kids. Another where someone had a solicitor (who may have been scamming or casing from the details) and again assumed traffickers there to kidnap.

  8. Scott Trudeau
    Posted August 25, 2016 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    People seem to think traffickers kidnap ordinary Americans and sell them into slavery (sexual or otherwise). That’s almost never the case.

  9. Anonymous
    Posted August 25, 2016 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    Part of the anti-Uber campaign funded by Big Cab?

  10. Dan
    Posted August 25, 2016 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    Very simple solution for her. Contact Uber about the driver, and file a police report. If she doesnt do that, then she is not telling the truth.

    I liked how they decided to use their phones to open a Lyft account when they finally got service, instead of calling 911.

    Most likely, she or someone she knows is a Lyft driver and trying to snuff out the competition.

  11. ANNIE PALMER
    Posted August 25, 2016 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    other side of coin: human trafficking is a real thing that happens to many young women and if this is someone crying wolf it’s a fucking shame because it’s just one more reason for people not to believe women who share stories of feeling unsafe.

  12. XXX
    Posted August 25, 2016 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    Hamtramck: a beautiful town with decent cell coverage

  13. ANNIE PALMER
    Posted August 25, 2016 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    ^They should put that on the sign as you drive into town

  14. Matt Roush
    Posted August 25, 2016 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    I’m just trying to figure out the scary Moozlums’ chant. Shelly? Shillelagh? And from my experience Hamtramck doesn’t really have a “ghetto.” And I can even get cell coverage at Polish Village, and that’s in a basement.

  15. Linh Song
    Posted August 25, 2016 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    Huh. Last time we were in Hamtramck we took the kids to a Yemeni restaurant and ate foul like fools. We felt pretty safe taking our little kids after biking around near the riverfront. I should have alerted my better half to roving hackers. He would probably know something about that kind of thing.

  16. Jay Steichmann
    Posted August 25, 2016 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    I’m thinking that this is all a shameless plug for The Polish Muslims, who will be appearing at the annual Hamtramck Festival on September 4th from 7 to 9 pm. Be ready to rock out to Love Polka #9. Ride service available.

  17. Michelle Birawer
    Posted August 25, 2016 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    I live in Hamtramck now and walk around at night in the area this woman claims this happened in. Anybody at Kelly’s would have helped this woman and her companion if they were not obviously on something. They were leaving a party in the Russel put on by Diplo. Drugs, lack of hydration and all day partying could lead to this woman’s delusion. Also, I was hanging out on a porch that has a view of Kelly’s bar at the supposed time of all these events using my cellphone just fine.

  18. site admin
    Posted August 25, 2016 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    Almost 500 people have now shared her post.

  19. Posted August 25, 2016 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    EOS will blame the life sciences.

  20. Anonymous
    Posted August 25, 2016 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    The Metro Times is now on the story, and they gave you a shout out.

    Is Uber being hacked by a Muslim sex-trafficking ring? Probably not, but this woman thinks so

    “Not wanting to add any fuel to the xenophobia fire, we opted not to publish anything regarding this screenshot. To us, it read more like a young woman crafting a tale of peril to throw authority figures (read: her parents) off the scent of her own debauchery — oh hey Ryan Lochte — but Ypsi blogger Mark Maynard’s response (and the accompanying commentary) to the post is too good not to report.”

    http://www.metrotimes.com/Blogs/archives/2016/08/25/is-uber-being-hacked-by-a-muslim-sex-trafficking-ring-probably-not-but-this-woman-thinks-so

  21. John Galt
    Posted August 25, 2016 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    This is EXACTLY why we need to elect DONALD TRUMP to be our new President.

  22. M
    Posted August 25, 2016 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    If I can’t get cell service in my house sometimes, does that mean the Muslims are in my house?

  23. Chaely Laine
    Posted August 25, 2016 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

    It doesn’t start getting dark until at least quarter to 9 in Michigan mid-August. Unless it’s different in Hamtrammy?

  24. Posted August 25, 2016 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    They’ll stop at nothing, Chaely. They hacked the sun.

  25. Anonymous
    Posted August 25, 2016 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

    The woman who posted it isn’t happy about the Metro Times coverage.

    http://imgur.com/a/HLdSe

  26. Maria Huffman
    Posted August 25, 2016 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

    She is lucky she got away…I hope they find those guys.

  27. site admin
    Posted August 26, 2016 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    Matt Luke from Kelly’s Bar had the following to say.

    “For the record, I’ve lived in Hamtramck for three years and worked here for six, and I’ve never heard of anything like this ever happening. And, trust me, it may appear differently to the outsider’s eye, but society here is far from “falling apart at the seams.” It’s a super diverse community, and, in many ways, ahead of its time in America. And I think you’d be genuinely surprised at how peacefully everybody coexists in Hamtramck. I’m not sure what this woman’s intentions are, but she’s clearly tapping into the Islamaphobia that’s so prevalent in mainstream America. I have MANY Muslim neighbors, and the behavior she described is completely contrary to everything I’ve observed and experienced from them.”

  28. Holly
    Posted August 26, 2016 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    Metafilter has a post today about other Uber things, and I am sorely tempted to share this link just for the wtf factor.

  29. Frosted Flakes
    Posted August 26, 2016 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    A young person wrote a story in an attempt to establish an alibi for some reason or another. In writing her tale we find out she is a poor writer of fiction.

  30. Westside
    Posted August 26, 2016 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

    Well, she’s definitely being attacked now. Too bad Jake Croman wasn’t with her.

    I’ve never had anything like that happen in Ann Arbor!

  31. Maria Huffman
    Posted August 27, 2016 at 3:23 am | Permalink

    I was chased once through Detroit, down I 75, by a white man with red hair and vet license plates, many years ago. I was lucky I got away from him that night.
    That has been the only time I ever felt threatened in Detroit.

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