PLEASE SEE THE UPDATE TO THIS STORY MADE ON FEBRUARY 24TH

It can happen anywhere - even a local mall parking lot. 

Human trafficking is a real problem, especially here in Michigan. In our state, in 2016, there were 843 calls and 246 reported cases of human trafficking. We are #2 in the country, only behind Nevada, as of 2015. Governor Snyder has even appointed a special task force to deal with this very real issue.

It's no secret that this problem is widespread, and the Flint is no exception. An incident at the mall this weekend has gone viral on social media, and while nothing happened (thank goodness), it's not a bad idea to keep these things in mind.

Ashley Hardacre, a mall employee who lives in Davison, went out to her car after her closing shift at Genesee Valley Center and noticed a flannel shirt tied to the wipers on the windshield...and a car running nearby.

She recalled something that her mom had said earlier, about how items can be placed on windshields to distract the driver and get them out of their car. Luckily, Ashley remembered this in time, and didn't get out of her car. She filed a report with mall security, and police are reviewing security footage.

WNEM TV 5

This is the first time an incident like this has been reported in Flint, but similar tactics, such as jewelry and cash, have been reported in the past. Always be aware and travel in numbers; thank goodness Ashley walked out to her car with friends.

DO NOT LET THIS DETER YOU FROM GOING TO THE MALL, OR OTHER PLACES AT NIGHT. Just be smart and safe about it.