Sex trafficking fears rise over car marks in Bowling Green, authorities respond

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Women in Bowling Green have posted pictures their cars to social media, one after another in fear of a new sex trafficking tactic. 

These pen marks people are finding on the back of their tail lights have sparked talk of sex trafficking rings “marking” single females.

Campbell Chevrolet Sales Manager Mark Cowan said the mark is actually a sign different car dealerships use to keep track of things like if the car’s been cleaned, inspected and so on.

“It’s actually a paint pen,” said Cowan. “So, it’s not gonna wash off when you go through the car wash. The rain’s not gonna wash it off.”

Some of the women on Facebook said their mark was freshly made at the time of their post- not there when they left the dealerships.

However, Cowan said the marks are so small people tend to only notice them when they are looking for them.

“Most likely been there and you haven’t noticed,” said Cowan. “You didn’t notice it when you were looking at the vehicle on the car lot. I don’t think what you’re seeing is something to be concerned about…This is for us and the venders to know that these vehicles have already been checked out and they’re ready for purchase.”

Bowling Green Police Department’s public information officer Ronnie Ward said that this is not the first time these guesses have circulated online. He said about four times a year, almost in waves, talk of different sex trafficking car tactics trend.

Ward said that in the 10 years he’s worked at the department, he’s only arrested a very small number of sex traffickers, most all of whom had a personal relationship with they person(s) they were sex trafficking. 

Ward encourages people with concerns about sex trafficking to always report those fears to the police department.