A Winnipeg photographer says someone is using his company’s name to lure young girls over Facebook, including a 15-year-old girl from Saskatchewan.
Last week, Rodney Braun got a concerned email from a girl. She said a man claiming to be from Braun’s company, Eve Studios, asked her 15-year-old cousin to send nude photos and offered to fly her out to Winnipeg.
Braun provided CKOM News with a copy of the email, which indicated that the girl had been contacted by a man named “Mike Chang” on Facebook.
“We started doing some research, and Michael Chang on Facebook is a fictional character so it seemed like we were just kind of getting messed with,” Braun said.
Because the email came from a Gmail account, he was able to see that the sender’s information indicated she was from Broadview, Saskatchewan. Then Braun said he got a call from a girl in Ontario who said someone messaged her friend over Facebook about doing a photo shoot for Eve Studios. She was wondering why they needed her friend in Winnipeg for three weeks.
“And I’m thinking to myself this has got to be a joke, this can’t be real. At that point I’m like ‘oh, this is not us, what’s going on here’,” Braun said from his home in Winnipeg.
He reported the two cases to Winnipeg’s Internet Child Exploitation (ICE) Unit. Although he does not know where in Saskatchewan the girl who was targeted is from, Winnipeg police confirm they are working alongside the Regina RCMP.
Braun is an award-winning photographer and teaches at Winnipeg’s Red River College. Although Eve Studios does specialize in artistic nude photography, Braun said potential clients contact him — not the other way around.
“Alarm bells went off all over the place because we don’t contact people we don’t know. We never ask people to send us photographs, especially minors,” he said.
Braun said one of the main reasons he went to police was because he was concerned about human trafficking. His theory is that someone may be trying to lure young girls to Winnipeg for Grey Cup.
Anyone who has received similar messages claiming to be connected to Eve Studios is asked to call the Winnipeg Police Service or the Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-844-333-2211.