Sarah Eckstrom wrote about her older sister's experience at Wareham Crossing on Facebook on Tuesday, March 12.

"Ladies in the Wareham area: If you have to go to any store in the crossing do NOT go alone. Apparently, Mariah was at Target last night and a woman approached her; about 5’7 with orange/blonde hair and a Russian accent, asking if she was interested in joining her church. It was something like “the Mother of Mary” church and it’s not a real church. It’s a facade to lure girls in and kidnap them into sex trafficking or other horrific things. Mariah went to the manager after they were following her and they were escorted out by security but she saw them head to TJ Maxx. If they come up to you call the police or if you have to go out go with a group of people so you’re not alone. She’s scared s***less now. I’ve seen many posts about these people going to different stores and pulling the same thing so please be cautious."

Sarah and Mariah's sister, Victoria Eckstrom, defended the sisters when others showed anger and doubt for their account of what happened. She posed several questions of her own:

"One: Why is it a “women’s only” group? Two: Why are they only coming up to women alone late at night? If this is a religious group, why aren’t they doing it in normal hours of the day and where people can see them like every other religious group trying to gain followers? Three: Why are stores literally escorting the people out? The people moved to another store and got kicked out for the same thing...It 100% can be a religious group, and this post by no means is being used to bash that group. The group could just be a cover-up and have absolutely nothing to do with the incidents but it’s being used to persuade people. Let it hit close to home and then come back and tell me how fake it is. Just remember, if it was your daughter, sister, mother, friend, aunt, anyone you know, and this happened to them, you would be scared too. The world is pretty messed up regardless of what you want to believe. Just keep your eyes open and be smart about what’s going on. That’s all this post is intended for."

It's important to remember that when this incident happened at the TJ Maxx in Dartmouth, the Dartmouth Police Department made it very clear that nothing's been substantiated yet. DPD said that there are "no connections to human trafficking at this time." Detective Kyle Costa would like to remind the community to always be vigilant and report suspicious activity:

You never know. We always encourage people to call when they're uncomfortable and see something suspicious," he said. "I would also just say that sometimes, be careful what you post so as not to create panic in the community.

I do believe that all of these girls and women who have posted warnings on social media had the best of intentions when they did so. However, I've noticed a lot of fear being instilled from these types of posts.

An earlier post on our site detailed that these people are linked to the "World Mission Society Church of God, a group known for sending missionaries out looking to engage people in conversation about "God the Mother." It is a REAL church, that although their methods for recruiting are somewhat disconcerting, they are NOT linked to human trafficking.

Please continue to be aware of your surroundings, but mindful to not spark fear in others.

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