Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show 'Under Ground Tunnel For Trafficking' -- It's Old Salt Mine In Europe

Fact Check

  • by: Uliana Malashenko
Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show 'Under Ground Tunnel For Trafficking' -- It's Old Salt Mine In Europe Salt Mine

Does a viral video show a hidden underground route used for "trafficking"? No, that's not true: The video shows an old, now-defunct salt mine in Romania. It's open to the public and functions as a museum.

The claim appeared in a post (archived here) on TikTok on March 16, 2023. The text overlay read:

go do y'all's research on these under ground tunnels for trafficking and escape from what's coming!! it's nuts!!

The clip's caption continued:

#fyp #foryourpage #humantraffickingawareness #itsrealpeople

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:

Screen Shot 2024-01-10 at 9.58.50 AM.png

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Wed Jan 10 14:58:50 2024 UTC)

The video didn't show anything that would confirm that this particular location was a crime scene used for human trafficking -- it included only generic shots of the space.

The same footage was uploaded on TikTok at least four days earlier, on March 12, 2023. That post (archived here) did not identify the location, but it didn't make the claim about trafficking, either.

Similar clips on TikTok (archived here) and YouTube (archived here) described the place as an old salt mine in the town of Slănic (also known as Slănic Prahova) in Romania.

Google Maps (archived here) confirmed the mine's location. One image (archived here) uploaded on Google Maps showed the same hexagon-shaped tunnel with the same white semi-spherical object at the end of it as in the video in question.

Now defunct, the salt mine is one of the major tourist attractions in the area. A photo (archived here) from the museum's website (archived here) shows the same unique geometry of the space with characteristic wooden rails marking the visitors' route, providing additional proof of the location.

Similar images depicting hexagon-shaped tunnels are among the uploads on the tourist attraction's page on TripAdvisor (archived here.)

Lead Stories previously debunked other claims linking videos of well-known tunnels to some purported secret trafficking schemes; for example, social media posts once mislabeled the footage from a transportation tunnel in the Alps.

Lead Stories fact checks also addressed other variations of the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory about "children in tunnels." Those stories can be found here.

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  Uliana Malashenko

Uliana Malashenko is a New York-based freelance writer and fact checker.

Read more about or contact Uliana Malashenko

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