This Ask MetaFilter thread is the most gripping thing I’ve read in a very long time. It begins:
A Russian friend of mine may be in a dangerous situation in Washington, DC.
My friend and former student K arrived in DC yesterday, along with a friend. She came over on some kind of travel exchange program put together by a Russian travel agency called ‘Aloha’. They paid about 3K for this program.
The program promised a job offer in advance, but didn’t deliver. They said they would send one via email, but failed there, too.
Her contact in the USA barely speaks English, doesn’t answer her calls but does answer mine. He has asked her and her friend to meet in NYC tonight around midnight, with promises of hostess work in a lounge. Yes, I know how horrific that sounds- that’s why I am working all possible angles here.
She is not going to NYC but I need some help handling and understanding how to handle this- I have a friend helping them with a cheap hotel for the night, but that’s all at the moment. I am presently driving to LA and could fly her and her friend to meet me there on Saturday, but couldn’t house them indefinitely. I will be monitoring this thread over the next hour.
The ~200 comments that follow are epic. A must-read.