‘It Happened To Me:’ Reporter Tells How She Was Nearly Victim Of Human Trafficking In Sochi
NEW YORK (CBS Charlotte) – At first it seemed like the opportunity of a lifetime: reporter Brittney Cason says she was contacted by a man claiming to be seeking correspondents for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Excited but cautious, she checked his credentials online and found that it seemed to check out.
Then she was notified an agency based in Los Angeles was making plans for her to travel to Russia to cover the games for a network.
Again, she checked the bonafides of the agency and it all seemed to check out.
Cason writes her contact was professional and knowledgeable throughout the four-month communication process.
She had filled out a visa application and made plans to spend a month covering the Games when, two weeks before the Opening Ceremonies, she got a request that set off alarm bells.
The “recruiter” said they needed more reporters and asked if she had any female colleagues who also wanted to join the reporting team. A helpful assistant supplied her with a link to the Russian visa application website.
Since Cason had gone through a grueling round of sending audition tapes and setting up credentials, she found it odd that offers were made to others sight unseen.
She reached out to another woman who was planning to go to Sochi on the same junket. They agreed something seemed fishy and investigated further.
They did some digging with the contact agency in Los Angeles and found that the man’s story didn’t add up.
Their next contact was with the FBI. Lawyers told the women how lucky and smart they were for catching on to the man after reading over our dealings with him, as he seemed that legitimate.
Cason says the lesson she learned is to be skeptical, especially when an opportunity seems to good to be true.
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