A video shared online purporting to show attempted kidnappings are in fact showing performances staged in Ecuador to promote awareness. The maker of the videos has clarified on social media that the videos, that are made to appear as if they were filmed by security cameras, do not show real abduction attempts.
A version on Instagram features an onscreen caption that reads: “Woman in the black shirt looking to kidnap this young girl for trafficking …” (here) The video shows a woman approach and stroke the hair of a young girl who is talking with a shopkeeper. A car pulls up alongside and its door is opened. As the girl walks in the direction of the car, the shopkeeper joins the girl and directs her away from the car, which the woman in black then enters before it drives away.
A version on Instagram garnered more than 145,000 likes. Its caption reads: “All predators are not men… some are women and even teenage girls…
Pay attention and stay safe friends…#stay #safe #evil #is #everywhere #pray #every #day” (here).
The post does not give an indication that the video shows an event staged in Ecuador, made to look like security footage of an attempted abduction. In fact, the video is just one in a series of videos, often filmed in the same location and with the same actors, that the creator has publicly said on social media was staged.
Other examples of videos showing similar events, filmed at the same ice cream shop can be found online (here), (here), (here), and some of these videos have featured in news reports, some calling them out for being staged (here), (here), (here), (here) while others seem to believe the videos show real abduction attempts (here), (here), (here!), (here).
Colombian outlet La Silla Vacia was able to correctly track down the original creator of the video, Renata Chonlong, and reported that a video, since taken down, showed Chonlong saying that all the videos were staged (here).
However, while that video is no longer available, a Facebook account for Renata Chonlong is online that does show that the videos are staged.
A better quality and longer version of the video featured on David J Harris Jr.’s Instagram had been posted in March to the Facebook page of Renata Chonlong (here), who regularly posts similar content, often filmed at the same ice cream shop (here), (here). Chonlong recently posted a notice to her Instagram page (here) in which she said that her videos were staged and should not be confused with real attempted abductions (here), (here).
She did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment.
Missing context. A video said to show an attempted kidnapping of a girl was staged to raise awareness.
This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our work to fact-check social media posts here .
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