Metafilter users save two Russian girls from sex traffickers

A reader writes, "Members of rescue two Russian girls from probable sex traffickers in NYC, in real time. You have to read through it to believe it."
My friend and former student K arrived in DC yesterday, along with a friend. She came over on some kind of travel exchange program put together by a Russian travel agency called 'Aloha'. They paid about 3K for this program.

The program promised a job offer in advance, but didn't deliver. They said they would send one via email, but failed there, too.

Her contact in the USA barely speaks English, doesn't answer her calls but does answer mine. He has asked her and her friend to meet in NYC tonight around midnight, with promises of hostess work in a lounge. Yes, I know how horrific that sounds- that's why I am working all possible angles here.

Help me help my friend in DC.


  1. “What does that make us?”
    “Big damn heroes sir”

    You’re goddamned right. Thank you, everyone.

  2. Well, I read the whole thread and here’s what I got:

    -The members feverishly dug up on the dirt and resources they could

    -The Ladies stuck their feet into the ground until they walked by, checked the place out, and it was a strip club.

    Well, I guess there was some heroics in the insistence that they do some background checking. But, unless I’ve read somthing wrong (and I read the whole thing), only actually witnessing the strip club made them change their minds. So, thank god these mobsters let them know where they were actually taking them.

    1. The metafilter members told the girls to watch out, got them in contact with the police/state department and showed up at the bus station to give the girls a safe place to stay.

      lots of girls would have showed up, maybe would have known it was bad news, but what could they do not knowing anyone or having anywhere to go or hardly speaking the language?

      they did a lot more than just digging up whatever.

    2. Perhaps I was mistaken, but I got the implication from the following excerpt of the climactic post that they convinced the girls not to visit the place at all.

      “Also, there may be people to escort you at the station. They are good people.

      (“at the station” being the bus station in NYC to which they had not yet arrived.)

      1. Also, considering the messages the guy (fake) received were posted by him, and he was on/heading to the west coast, those times would be the time he received the messages. You have to add at least two or three hours to when the girls actually sent those messages from NYC.

  3. TNGMug:

    You did misread it — the women were met at the station by a user of the website who had gotten in touch with them and changed their minds. They never made it to the club at all.

  4. Holy god that was an insane thread. I feel sorry for the insane amount of stress the guy (Fake) had to go through, but happy that he did absolutely everything humanly possible to change the outcome of a terrible situation.

  5. ‘D, please, stop calling somebody, please, don’t call to xxxx. All is ok.There is no problem!!!


    D! Listen. I don’t know how thanks you. Lux lounge is a strip bar, if we will go there, i don’t know what would be… Thank you so much.! You saved our lifes.

    No thanks necessary. It wasn’t only me.

    Also, there may be people to escort you at the station. They are good people.

    Yeh, i know. I’ve sms with (mefi member) i think she is cool)
    miss you. & see you soon.


    Note the last message. It sounds like members of the site were in contact with the girls, and convinced them to check the lounge out the afternoon before the meeting, based on what they’d dug up about it. Afterward, they apparently met face-to-face.

    Extremely awesome!

  6. Balled in happiness at the outcome of this whole thing. One of the best uses of the Internet I have ever seen.

    (And completely made my day after being stuck for twelve hours with my racist, bigoted co-workers).

  7. Awesome. To help cover expenses, I sent dough to the person who met them at the bus station, asking that anything excess go to whatever human trafficking charity she thinks best.

  8. Hi there. I am the person who met them at Port Authority (along with two plainclothes cops, who didn’t identify themselves)!

    The story is long and complicated, but to clarify, they did not walk by the club themselves. They got off the bus a long, long time after 3:30pm, and by that point they had decided to party with me (woo!) instead of meeting the other guy.


    Thank you. We have been relying on the generosity of friends lately due to my recent surgery and a roommate’s unexpected departure, so help with expenses is greatly appreciated.

    Those friends have, without exception, are people I met via metafilter. It is a wonderful site with a wonderful community, and I am proud to be a part of it.

    (The cops thought my username was very funny…)

  9. I had tears welling up by the time i finished reading the thread. Fantastic stuff, truly a wonderful and amazing thing. It doesn’t matter how big or small the effort was (as some people are pointing out) – what matters is that people got together and stopped these girls from getting in a very, very wrong situation.

    Well done those involved. It’s something you won’t forget – ever. Put it in the pile of ‘tales to tell the grandkids around the fireplace’.. :)

  10. The Internet is great, and it´s AWESOME when people group together for a good cause and solve problems in MOTHERFUCKING REAL TIME.

    I readed all the posts and my heart is still pounding like a disco, Good Ending FTW!


  11. It’s insane. While this was going on all across the country, I was engaged in a heated debate concerning the value of social networking. I think after reading this, my opposition would have conceded.

  12. Things like this restore my faith in humanity. Somewhere out there are people who care, and who are awesome, and I love them for it.

  13. I also read the whole thread …

    now I am wondering ‘what will happen with these 2’?

    I also wonder if this kind of compassion would have occurred if it had been for 2 male mexicans who were ‘sold’ into cheap labor …

    There was a huge ‘damsel in distress’ factor here …

    and as for the first commentator, yes, I was immediately thinking about ‘Taken’

    1. I believe that Men are not sold as often as women. There’s a reason for the ‘damsel in distress’ archetype. (I’m not saying that women are helpless, but that they are taught to be and expected to be dependent and subservient so they end up being more readily preyed upon, sadly.)

  14. It’d be lovely if the news media were to run this story, but they’re too busy screaming that the Internet is full of pedos.

  15. It scares me how the actual systems that are designed to protect human beings were a)not really trusted and b)not in any way effectual in this episode. We expect nothing from our public services and they fulfill our expectations. Shame on we.

  16. This is a great story and really heartening news to hear the resolution.

    I’m curious about more details though. Namely:
    1. Is there a current investigation into the Aloha people.
    2. If there is have there been any arrests / uncoverings of shady types.
    3. How did the girls find out about it in the first place and is anything in place to stop it from occuring again. Preventatively.

    I guess information about the above questions would also validate the veractiy that this was definitely an attempt at human trafficing.

    All in all great news and long live the free, open and altruistic internet.

    1. “3. How did the girls find out about it in the first place and is anything in place to stop it from occuring again. Preventatively.”

      Since many buses today have WiFi/internet access I suspect the girls used/borrowed a laptop a few minutes to check out the establishment. The homepage for the club has lots and lots of ads in russian, probably convincing the girls that all the fuss people were kicking around had some truth to it.

  17. The question about “were they really in danger,” “was this really a trafficking situation” were flying all over the thread Wednesday night. But pretty early on a Metafilter user who works at the actual State Department in this actual field got involved. After that any doubts most people had about the bona fides went away.

  18. @shadowfirebird : Come. Join us. Bwuhahahahahaha…..

    Ahem. My Mefite alter ego read that thread and cried like a little girl. How it hasn’t been sidebared, I don’t know…

  19. The address that came they were supposed to go to has some obvious issues that perhaps should be addressed. It seems to be a front for criminal activity that changes name/ownership whenever it draws the attention of a regulatory agency.

    Perhaps we should sic the IRS on the operation. They can bring in the rest of the alphabet. This would get past the “washing” of the provenance that takes place with name/ownership changes that occur…

    1915 Coney Island Ave?

  20. How it hasn’t been sidebared, I don’t know…

    It’s been sidebarred now. Been a busy day around these parts.

  21. this was amazing.

    i’d like to know, though, after everything fake was telling them about the lux lounge and the people they were going to meet there, what did the lady who met them at the bus station say that changed their minds?

    i obviously have no idea about the girls’ circumstances and state of mind coming to the states, but they sure seemed incredibly stubborn about going through with it despite all the warnings and information from fake…

  22. yeEaaAarrgh! so. much. whiiite.
    Switching back from Metafilter is a blunt shock to teh old visual cortex.
    Anyway, that was fake.

  23. Money quote from the MetaTalk thread:

    three hundred computer nerds prevent two young girls from going out to a nightclub.

    this is somehow the exact opposite of how social networking websites should be used.

    1. Unfortunately, shipbreaker and bingo are class 1 a-holes. You should take care not to listen too much to what they have to say.

  24. I read the entire thing on metafilter and it really restore your faith in humanity :)

    As an aside, back when glasgow airport was rammed by a suicide bomber. A man knocked out one othe the terrorists. So someone setup a system so that people could buy him a pint. Does anyone know how to do this?

    As i’d love to buy Fake, IFDS#9 and the others who helped on metafilter a drink if they manage to get togeather in one place :)

  25. Goosebumps here.

    Now if only we could repeat this a few hundred thousand times more :)

  26. And now there’s a Wiki entry on this incident being assembled. Makes me wish I lived in NYC so I could take the time to go look up the title records on the Lux Lounge, and the names on the business licenses, so I could publish them and really put a spanner in their works.

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