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Was Boy Picked Up by Wrong Babysitter Just “VERY LUCKY” He Wasn’t Sex Trafficked?

So here’s what happened: A babysitter came to pick up five kids at a New York City public school, including one she hadn’t met before, but whose name was — well, this New York Post article doesn’t say his name, but it was the name of another boy as well. The teacher gave the babysitter the wrong boy, age 5, and off the babysitter went — for half an hour:
“It is a parent’s worst nightmare to have their child taken from school by a stranger,” said the family’s attorney, Israel Klein.

Ignoring the child’s frightened protestations, the unnamed sitter walked H.J. and four other children home — while H.J. nervously asked where she was taking him, and informed her that he didn’t live in that neighborhood.

​​The babysitter only realized her mistake when she attempted to drop H.J. at the wrong address, and an adult there informed her she’d collected the wrong child.

Meanwhile, H.J.’s grandmother, Isabel Encarnation, had arrived at the Inwood school to collect her grandson, who was nowhere to be found….

The unnamed woman eventually returned, more than 30 minutes later, with H.J. — stating she’d “made a mistake” and had no idea what the boy she was supposed to pick up looked like — and then “fled the building,” the suit says.

This truly does sound awful — upsetting and scary for the boy and his family.  But here’s one Facebook conversation it inspired. To me it is a perfect example of escalating an upsetting incident into an outrage, and I admire the mom who sent it to me, Arielle Kurtze, for trying to stay rational:

Arielle Kurtze:Oh please. “parents worst nightmare” more like these parents found their dream opportunity to sue the school and make themselves rich. Sometimes life isn’t perfect and all’s well that ends well. Look up the statistics! This boy has way more to fear from his family members than any stranger

A.T.: You’re kidding right? Do you have kids? How would you feel if a STRANGER took your child home? He didn’t know this person! He is VERY lucky this woman didn’t kidnap him, or worse!

A.M.S.:  There is no way this women has children.

Arielle Kurtze: Ha. 3 kids, thank you very much. I realize that this situation wasn’t an ideal day but guess what?! The kid was returned, it was an honest mistake and now the parents are looking to cash in. I know EXACTLY what it’s like to have kids, and I also know that most people aren’t looking for random children to gobble up. Life is safer (much) safer than it was when I was growing up and screaming “stranger danger” isn’t doing anyone any favors.

S.P.:  Screaming stranger danger isn’t helping anyone? You suck.

S.D.: If you don’t take action when something like this happens, next time it could be a kidnapping. Then is it a parent’s worst nightmare to you?

Arielle Kurtze: I definitely don’t suck, and looking to cash in on a less than ideal situation is just opportunistic. Next time a giant tornado could sweep the child away! There’s just as much chance of that as some doomsday scenario with the mistake that happened with this child. That’s what it was. And remember, child came home, no harm no foul!! How about an apology to the parents and then everyone needs to move on with their lives….We live in the world safest times ever known to humanity. Check out what’s happening in say Syria. THAT is a parents worst nightmare.

More back and forthing (and frothing). And then —

A.T.:  I feel bad for your kids. if you don’t have it in you as a mother to understand it’s serious when a child is taken, with incorrect person,  then you have a real problem. If it was one of your kids, you would just go to the school, take  the other 2 home and say “well, they will bring him back, let’s go other 2 kids!” You wouldn’t be in a panic? Not saying they deserve millions, but this could have been much worse. And YES there are children being taken EVERYDAY! Sex trafficking, HUMAN trafficking! Must be nice to live in a bubble. Wake up!

My thoughts: Yes, it was terrible that the babysitter ignored the boy’s concerns. Awful! I, too, would want an apology from her, and from the school.

But Arielle is right: Look up the statistics. Do I think that the boy was just “VERY lucky” that the sitter wasn’t a sex trafficker? No, because sex trafficking is very rare. This report by the Crimes Against Children Research Center found zero cases of sex-trafficked children under the age of 11 in 2005, the year studied. In fact, the majority of victims were over age 16. And the total number of arrests for sex trafficking was 1,450, in a country with 72,000,000 minors. So my mind doesn’t immediately jump to sex trafficking.
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As for kidnapping, there were 105 cases of stranger kidnapping in 2011, making it even rarer than trafficking. 
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It doesn’t make a person cruel or uncaring to remain rational while others share the satisfaction of hysteria. – L..

Did anyone actually see this movie about a child kidnapped in the space of five seconds? It certainly seems to be a popular topic.

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67 Responses to Was Boy Picked Up by Wrong Babysitter Just “VERY LUCKY” He Wasn’t Sex Trafficked?

  1. donald January 30, 2017 at 9:29 pm #

    How the parents respond has a lot to do with how the child responds.

    “He didn’t know this person! He is VERY lucky this woman didn’t kidnap him, or worse!”
    “If you don’t take action when something like this happens, next time it could be a kidnapping.”

    “H.J., now 6-years-old, suffers from nightmares, stress, and anxiety, and “refused to return to school because he was afraid that a stranger will take him again.”

    OF COURSE, THIS WILL HAPPEN WHEN THE MOM COACHES HIM THAT HE WAS IN GRAVE DANGER AND WAS LUCKY THAT HE WASN’T SOLD AS A SEX SLAVE!

    We all influence how people respond. For example, a toddler is learning how to stand. He’s wobbly and falls down. Upon striking the floor, he hesitates momentarily then laughs. Laughing was his choice on how to respond. Now imagine a helpful person saying, “That must have hurt. You don’t have to keep a brave face. I’ll let you cry on my shoulder. Go ahead. Let it all out. You don’t need to be brave. I’ll comfort you.”

    The toddler then changes his mind and starts crying. The question is. Was this helpful person really helpful?

    A few years ago on the reality tv show Big Brother, a prank was blown way out of proportion. This prank was sort of like a wedgie. It isn’t like what a bully does to the school ‘target’. It’s more of a prank that friends do to each other. The prank was a ‘turkey slap. Three friends were goofing around when two of them held down the girl and she was slapped in the face with a penis.

    This was wrong. However, it was made much worse.

    This prank was done on Big Brother and no malice or sexual gratification was intended. After the prank, the ‘victim’ laughed and wasn’t upset at all – or at least not until hours later when the network reacted as though she should be traumatized by it. The network talked her into being traumatized and their rating sky-rocketed. She had to have private sessions with a counselor in the Big Brother house and was crying often.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8I5luYyKrw

    It was terrible that it happened. It’s also terrible to treat children as FEDEX packages so that this could never happen again. This also has consequences. Preventing children from developing self-reliance is also dangerous. Children WILL reach adult age. However many that reach this age have a stunted adult mentality. Anxiety claims the lives of many through suicide. This happens 1,000 times more often than sex slavers that troll schools. (because that is the ONLY place they can find children)

  2. donald January 30, 2017 at 9:48 pm #

    Brain priming is an implicit memory effect in which exposure to one stimulus (i.e., perceptual pattern) influences the response to another stimulus. An example of this gobbledegook is if you were given the word problem of SO_P and had to guess what the blank letter was, your environment would help you to decide. If you were in the kitchen you may guess SOUP but in the laundry, you may guess SOAP.

    Every situation that we encounter has blanks spots to fill in. People don’t know everything there is to know except for me and James. The movie, ‘Taken’ may teach us to be cautious and how to identify scary people. The infotainment of the news keeps us well informed about what to be afraid of. This can actually have helpful qualities. However, it does 500 times more to encourage violence than it does to quell it. This is why men in white vans are so suspicious and why adults can’t visit Legoland if unaccompanied by a minor. This is why schools often go into lockdown over comical things.

    In the SO_P example above, if you spend most of your time in the kitchen, this will influence how often SOUP comes to mind. Also if you spend most of your time in worst first thinking, this will also have an influence on how you see the world and TEACH your child on what the world is like.

    @James I was kidding. This isn’t meant to pick a fight.

  3. Jessica January 30, 2017 at 10:07 pm #

    Also– virtually all trafficked children are runaways, or children in foster care, or children who otherwise don’t have adults in their lives taking care of them. If you’re a middle-class family in the US, there is basically zero chance of your child being scooped up and trafficked. However, people find it easy to ignore and overlook poor, largely minority, children from chaotic backgrounds– it’s easier to get adults riled up by imagining that the victims of sex-trafficking are wealthy, blonde, female, and being taken from their bedrooms under the noses of their attentive parents.

  4. Jessica January 30, 2017 at 10:10 pm #

    But also– trawling the comment sections of any Facebook post is not a recommended method for finding reasonable discussion. On any topic.

  5. baby-paramedic January 31, 2017 at 1:38 am #

    Years ago I was working in an emergency department. Not even a particularly busy one. I had a chart for an 6 year old boy who had a possible broken left wrist. His name was something like Thomas Williams, so, I call for a Thomas Williams, and a small boy of about 6 walked up, holding his left wrist which looked broken, accompanied by his parent. I did all the assessments, signed for the child to get an Xray etc, and only discovered when I asked specifically for his date of birth (so I could give some painkillers) he was not in fact Thomas Williams, he was Thomas Williamson.
    Somehow, in our small three bed ED we had two six year old boys with the same injury, whose names were very similar. The true Thomas Williams, and his parent, were in the toilet at the time I called the name. It wasn’t flagged because in 20 minutes between them presenting for initial triage, there had been a staff change (and this was well before computers were involved in the process).

    These Things Happen.

    It isn’t ideal. There should always be safeguards against such things happening, but happen they do.

    (Obviously name and injury changed, but, I did once confuse two children in the ED for same injury and similar sounding name).

  6. hineata January 31, 2017 at 2:14 am #

    People are weird these days. I’m sure that even in America a generation ago, people would have laughed at this. The kid had a little adventure.

    @baby paramedic – that sounds like typical small-town crazy ☺. I have to watch my girls too – thanks to the Chinese naming system they both have the same ‘first’ name, and El Sicko regularly has her sister’s broken bones added to her records ☺. And we were sitting in A&E one morning when a woman who was in supporting one daughter with an arm and knee injury (something to do with a minor car incident ) was rung by the school of another daughter, who had fallen off playground equipment and sustained EXACTLY the same injury as her sister. Mum just told them she’d see the kid at the hospital….no point in going out for a seond ambulance ride! We all had a good laugh about it – I hope your patients did too. What’s the chances? ☺

  7. donald January 31, 2017 at 2:43 am #

    @Jessica

    You’re right. sex slave traffickers don’t want to get caught. Therefore why would they snatch people that would be missed? There are plenty of runaways and throwaways.

  8. BL January 31, 2017 at 4:25 am #

    “Ignoring the child’s frightened protestations”

    So the child knew a mistake was being made, said so loudly and insistently, and the so-called responsible adults proceeded like automatons since all the paperwork was in order.

  9. common sense January 31, 2017 at 6:03 am #

    let the paranoia begin. so a baby sitter who has permission from the school to pick up her charges[because what school releases kids without prior permission?] is now going to turn into a sex trafficker because one kid isn’t hers? yes mistakes got made and one of the “adults” should have listened to the boy. but really, so she’ll take the others home then sell him? if it was a movie nobody would believe it. I can’t be the only one who sometimes wants to take these worst first people and bang their heads against the wall til some sense is knocked into them.

  10. mer January 31, 2017 at 6:04 am #

    @donald:
    Kid falling, perfect example. They always look around to see mom/dad reaction, if the parents freak out, the kid does too. One of my favorite lines “Oh stop whining, it only hurts for a minute”.

  11. MichaelF January 31, 2017 at 6:27 am #

    Yeah, because sex trafficers pose as babysitters who take huge groups of kids at a time, with one extra just to make a little extra. Right…..NOT

    I agree with the post, its about the family cashing in on a mistake that should have been avoided if the babysitter had paid a little more attention to the new kid who didn’t understand what was going on. At the first question she should have checked more.

  12. Nicole R. January 31, 2017 at 6:38 am #

    “…It’s also terrible to treat children as FEDEX packages so that this could never happen again. This also has consequences. Preventing children from developing self-reliance is also dangerous. Children WILL reach adult age. However many that reach this age have a stunted adult mentality. Anxiety claims the lives of many through suicide. This happens 1,000 times more often than sex slavers that troll schools.”

    So true!!

    I do wonder why inquiries weren’t made when the child protested, but he was not taken by a stranger meaning him harm. He was taken by an honest person who thought she was supposed to be picking him up. And the mistake was corrected as soon as she figured it out. The time in between was awful for the boy’s family, but why didn’t the school realize what happened when the other boy with the same name was still there at the end of pick-up? That would have shortened the panic a lot.

    And I agree that how children react is all in how the adults in charge spin things. When my own son was in second grade, our town re-arranged schools, and the busses were a mess on the first day. He and a neighbor girl were put on the wrong one (also in spite of their protests. The adults thought they knew better than the kids.) But we didn’t assume they were kidnapped, we assumed they were merely annoyed at the delay, and spilt up – the other mom went to the school in case they were brought back, and I stayed behind in case they other bus brought them home. They showed up, late but otherwise unruffled. I fed them cupcakes, praised their ability to tell the other driver their address, and we all went to bed that night grateful for good neighbors and cooperation. The kids felt proud of themselves for not panicking, and barely remember the “incident” today. We didn’t sue anybody, and the kids got on the right bus the next day.

  13. Donna January 31, 2017 at 8:04 am #

    Sex traffickers do not go to schools posing as babysitters to kidnap children. In fact, sex trafficking and human trafficking are generally just fancy words for prostitution.

    And, while I cannot state that it has never happened, kidnapping is not how sex trafficking works. As a general rule, sex trafficking of the very young involves a parent or other care giver pimping out a child in their care or allowing someone else to do so. Common situations are a drug addicted parent who is so out of it that they have no idea what is happening with their child. Parent leaves their child in the care of someone else who then pimps them out. Drug addicted parent takes their child to the meth house and either gets high and has no idea what happens to their child or allows people to use their child in exchange for sex. Mother in an abusive relationship whose partner pimps her child out. Young children make up a very small portion of sex trafficking.

    Most common sex trafficking involves people age 12 through adult who willingly enter into a romantic relationship with someone either known or unknown to them to be a pimp. That person then exploits them through various methods – getting them hooked on drugs, threatening to end the relationship, abuse, getting them to run away from home and then threatening to kick them onto the street unless they comply. Many teens also CHOOSE to enter into prostitution willingly to support themselves in order to live without their parents and we still refer to this as sex trafficking for some reason. Kids with bad home lives or emotional issues or who are extensively bullied are the most susceptible to this. A very large percentage are foster kids because of the trauma they have already suffered with their families and the desire to be loved but having no real understanding or experience with healthy relationships.

    All of this is horribly sad, but also a far cry from happy, healthy middle class kids being picked up at school and sold into sex trafficking rings.

  14. Beth January 31, 2017 at 8:31 am #

    In what world was it “lucky” she wasn’t a sex-trafficker, when 4 other families had actually hired her (presumably meeting her in the process) to take care of their kids?

  15. Emily January 31, 2017 at 8:33 am #

    I agree with everything that everyone else has said so far, and also, I kind of feel like this whole panic about “our child being picked up by the wrong babysitter was VERY LUCKY he wasn’t sex trafficked” is a symptom of adults not trusting each other, and parents not trusting other parents. After all, the “wrong babysitter” for the ABC Family, would have been the “right babysitter” for the XYZ Family, so Mr. and Mrs. ABC are essentially beginning from the assumption that the XYZ’s routinely hire sex traffickers as babysitters, or at least don’t properly vet the people who care for their children. Now, it may be the case that Mr. and Mrs. ABC are neurotic control freaks who require their babysitters to have multiple references and a degree in Early Childhood Education, whereas the XYZ’s are content with hiring their teenage neighbour, but even in that case, it’d still be a bit of a leap for Mr. and Mrs. ABC to assume that the XYZ Family’s babysitter was a sex. Now, this may not seem like a big deal for a one-time screw-up, but in a public school scenario, with young children, it might be. I mean, would Mr. and Mrs. ABC then complain, or insist on accompanying their child, if one or both of the XYZ parents wanted to, say, chaperone a field trip, or coach the soccer team, or if Child XYZ invited Child ABC to a birthday party? When I was growing up, public schools, for all their shortfalls, were very effective at building community, but that can’t happen with this mentality of rampant distrust for everyone else in the community.

  16. Beth January 31, 2017 at 8:35 am #

    “So the child knew a mistake was being made, said so loudly and insistently, and the so-called responsible adults proceeded like automatons since all the paperwork was in order.”

    I didn’t see anything about paperwork in the above write-up; was it in the full article/link?

  17. Emily January 31, 2017 at 8:42 am #

    Can’t edit on this thing. I meant to say, “it’d still be a bit of a leap for Mr. and Mrs. ABC to assume that the XYZ Family’s babysitter was a sex trafficker.”

  18. BL January 31, 2017 at 8:51 am #

    @Beth
    “I didn’t see anything about paperwork in the above write-up; was it in the full article/link?”

    I meant that mostly as snark in the “are your papers in order?” sense, but the attached article does mention a “list of individuals approved for school pick-up.”

  19. James Pollock January 31, 2017 at 8:51 am #

    What Donna said, except that it’s even more accurate to say that sex trafficking is not just prostitution, it’s forced prostitution, hence the old name for it, which is “white slavery”. Human trafficking, on the other hand, is a much broader category not necessarily related to prostitution at all… some people are trafficked for labor in other forms. This category usually involves people who are in the country illegally (not necessarily this one) looking for work

    BOTH kinds of trafficking tend to draw from people who are desperate to support themselves and unable to draw upon a support network of friends or family. A schoolchild from a middle-class neighborhood released to a babysitter is not a very likely target, although not immune, either.

    This event is the result of several different people each making a mistake at the same time. The families involved DO have a legitimate injury that should be recompensed… though the award I’d give personally wouldn’t cover an hour of a lawyer’s time… and all the families with children at this school have an interest in seeing that the mistakes that led to this event are not repeated. (for those who see no injury here, look again… the child who was taken away protested this and was taken anyway. That’s the “injury” I’m talking about.)

  20. Donna January 31, 2017 at 9:00 am #

    While I would certainly be in a panic if I went to school, my child was not there, and nobody could tell me where she is, it appears that the teacher who gave the wrong child to the babysitter should have been able to immediately explain what had happened. The babysitter has been babysitting the other 4 kids for some period of time and is known to the school. It is unreasonable to believe that the babysitter of these other 4 children – especially when the children always appear back in school the day after the babysitter has picked them up – is a sex trafficker. Once the matter was sorted out, it makes sense to be annoyed by the mix up, but not terrified that your child has been kidnapped and is in the process of being sex trafficked as you wait.

    And why do people refuse to listen to young children? This kid supposedly repeatedly indicated that this was not right and nobody listened to him. Even kindergarteners generally know where they are supposed to go after school each day. Few parents would send a new babysitter to pick up their kids up without telling the kid about it beforehand.

  21. Donna January 31, 2017 at 9:02 am #

    “except that it’s even more accurate to say that sex trafficking is not just prostitution, it’s forced prostitution,”

    I would agree that that SHOULD be the definition, however I find that it is more and more being used to describe any prostitution today. Or at least any prostitution that involves a pimp, agency or man in any way other than the John.

  22. K January 31, 2017 at 9:12 am #

    The kids falling down thing is a great example. I was once at a playgroup with my one-year-old. He fell down, I sat still and waited for him to react. He got up and kept going. A mom next to me said, “Wow, boys are tough! If my daughter [who was older, and not present] fell down, she’d be a mess!” A few minutes later, her toddler son fell down, and she jumped into action. “Oh, baby, are you ok? Let me help you!” etc. I couldn’t find the right words to tell her that she had made her daughter into someone who cries every time she falls down, and, far from boys being inherently tough, was well on the way to making her son into one, too.

    I have to admit, if I were the parents who had actually hired the babysitter in the story, I would be re-evaluating my choice. I would never want a caregiver who ignored a child insisting that something was wrong. If I were the parents of the boy who was picked up incorrectly, I would be annoyed with the teacher, upset with the babysitter, but mostly concerned that my son went with a stranger, when he knew it wasn’t right, without having to be dragged out of there kicking and screaming.

    There are a couple of barriers to this happening that didn’t work properly. One, yes, was the school releasing the child to someone not on his “list.” That’s the only one the parents seem to be blaming. Another is the babysitter (and probably the teacher, really) ignoring the child who knew he wasn’t supposed to leave with a stranger. And another – what should hopefully be the final, insurmountable obstacle – is the child’s ability to stand firm and say, “My grandma is supposed to pick me up. I’m not going with that lady I don’t know” and not moving his feet even if an authority figure tells him to.

  23. James Pollock January 31, 2017 at 9:12 am #

    “I meant that mostly as snark in the “are your papers in order?” sense, but the attached article does mention a ‘list of individuals approved for school pick-up.'”

    I had considerable difficulty explaining to my daughter’s school that at the end of the school day, they didn’t have to worry about where she went… she was pre-approved to walk home if she wanted to, or to ride any of the buses to get to a friend’s house after school. There wasn’t a checkbox for that on the form. The notion that my middle-school-aged child was to have autonomy in deciding where she went after school had to be hand-written onto the form.
    She went to a magnet middle school, which drew on the entire school district rather than just a neighborhood for students, and they had an elaborate bus system… in the morning, they took the regular school bus to the nearest neighborhood middle school, then instead of going inside they switched to another bus that went from the that middle school directly to the magnet school. After school, they took a bus from the magnet school to the nearest neighborhood high school, and then got on the bus with the high-school kids to get home. Except… We lived close enough to the high school that my daughter just got off the bus at the high school, and walked home.
    When she switched from the regular high-school program to the early-college high-school program, the schools didn’t provide transportation services… they just gave her a pass for the local mass-transit agency, and we completely dispensed with the notion that the school had any reason to know (or care) where she went when she wasn’t in school.

  24. BL January 31, 2017 at 9:19 am #

    @Donna
    “And why do people refuse to listen to young children? This kid supposedly repeatedly indicated that this was not right and nobody listened to him.”

    Because that’s not part of the official pick-up procedure.

    “Even kindergarteners generally know where they are supposed to go after school each day.”

    Before official pick-up procedures, we just left when the final bell rang. Some (like me) walked home, sometimes in a roundabout way. Others walked to the bus stop and waited for the bus.

    Now they’ve got hundreds of kids to process like FedEx packages (borrowing donald’s phrase) and sometimes they’re sent to the wrong address. Who listens to FedEx packages?

  25. BL January 31, 2017 at 9:24 am #

    @James Pollock
    “When she switched from the regular high-school program to the early-college high-school program, the schools didn’t provide transportation services…”

    I was in early-to-college, too, and I drove myself to the college campus. All HS seniors were allowed to drive to school anyway, without a special reason. Plenty of them went hunting (during the hunting season) after school and had their hunting rifles in their vehicles. No big deal -at that time and place.

  26. jimc5499 January 31, 2017 at 9:32 am #

    I agree with the law suit post. Stir up enough outrage and the School District will settle out of court. Then the School District will come out with a new set of rules that makes it harder to pick up your child.

  27. James Pollock January 31, 2017 at 9:39 am #

    “I was in early-to-college, too, and I drove myself to the college campus.”

    Not an option for my 15-year-old daughter. (Nor when she was 16, either, but for different reasons). She still didn’t have a license yet when she went off to university at 17, and didn’t get a car of her own until this year… her last year as an undergraduate.

    Interestingly, the college campus is actually closer to our house than her “neighborhood” middle school was. (There’s another middle school that’s closer, physically, but is on the other side of a major freeway).

  28. Dienne January 31, 2017 at 9:55 am #

    Right. The babysitter had four kids that she was legitimately supposed to pick up, but she was going to sex traffic the one kid she picked up by accident. I can totally see that.

  29. Donna January 31, 2017 at 10:31 am #

    Or maybe they thought the parents of the child she was supposed to pick up was going to traffic him. They have their own 5 year old with the same name that they don’t traffic, but they unexpectedly find themselves in possession of another and are going to traffic that one.

  30. K January 31, 2017 at 12:01 pm #

    Don’t we all have our friendly neighborhood traffickers on speed dial for when we unexpectedly find ourselves with an extra kid around?

  31. pentamom January 31, 2017 at 12:06 pm #

    The person who took the wrong kid was somebody’s babysitter. Once you understood that the kid was picked up by the wrong babysitter, that other parents had been using all along, no, a rational person would NOT panic and fear that the person was actually a sex trafficker. That’s just insane.

    Of course, I suppose those sex traffickers are that devious. They work for months or years as legitimate babysitters and get clients, and then just wait for the opportunity when two kids with the same name need to be picked up by a babysitter they haven’t met before on the same day.

    Sort of like the predators who have nothing to do all day, every day, but hide in the bush at the end of your driveway. YOUR driveway, not somebody else’s.

  32. pentamom January 31, 2017 at 12:11 pm #

    ” Many teens also CHOOSE to enter into prostitution willingly to support themselves in order to live without their parents and we still refer to this as sex trafficking for some reason.”

    Because the definition of the word trafficking is trade in contraband. So that’s what’s happening.

    If it was called “people trafficking” then it would be inaccurate to call it trafficking to the extent it was voluntary. But sex is being trafficked.

  33. John B. January 31, 2017 at 12:19 pm #

    This is exactly why I’m glad I am not in an occupation involving children nowadays, such as teaching, nursery school, bus driver, YMCA employee, etc., etc. If you do one little thing wrong, you are not just made aware of your mistake so you can avoid it like you are on any job, but you are fired and then sued and sometimes even put in jail. Back in the 1960s, it wasn’t unusual for young kids taking the bus to get on the wrong bus after school. But they learned from it and improved the process which made things more user friendly for the children. Nobody got fired and sued like they would today. Then organizations such as Big Brothers/Big Sisters, the Boy Scouts, boys and girls club, 4-H, etc., wonder why they’re having a tough time nowadays recruiting volunteers.

  34. Donna January 31, 2017 at 1:21 pm #

    “Because the definition of the word trafficking is trade in contraband. So that’s what’s happening.

    If it was called “people trafficking” then it would be inaccurate to call it trafficking to the extent it was voluntary. But sex is being trafficked.”

    The phrase “sex trafficking” is a term of art. It is used to indicate that a person is being compelled or controlled by someone else to engage in sex acts for money or goods. Inherent in the definition is the victimhood of the person engaging in the sexual act at the hands of someone other than a John.

  35. Jenna K. January 31, 2017 at 1:24 pm #

    Let’s see, the babysitter took the boy to his presumed home and when learning it was the wrong boy took him back to the school. That doesn’t sound like an attempted kidnapping at all. And that doesn’t sound like the boy wasn’t in danger at all. People these days just blow everything way out of proportion. Is this really a news story?

  36. Papilio January 31, 2017 at 1:43 pm #

    “And why do people refuse to listen to young children? This kid supposedly repeatedly indicated that this was not right and nobody listened to him.”

    I wondered the same thing. There was something similar a while back when a school bus driver dropped a kid off at a wrong stop / was put on the wrong bus by some teacher, I forgot, despite the child telling them that this wasn’t his stop/bus. As if he was a package that happened to be talking.

    “Meanwhile, H.J.’s grandmother, Isabel Encarnation, had arrived at the Inwood school to collect her grandson, who was nowhere to be found….”

    Teacher: ‘No, I’m sorry, we’re fresh out of Harry Johnsons. But we still have this very nice Harry Carpenter for you if you like? He’s also 5 and loves spinach.’ 😛

  37. Jarod January 31, 2017 at 1:56 pm #

    A.T. clearly has no actual knowledge of how sex trafficking works. It’s a criminal enterprise. Let’s break this down. The enterprise part means it’s a business–people do it because they want to make money, and to keep making money. The criminal part means that it’s illegal–getting caught pretty much ends your business. It doesn’t make sense to grab unwilling children from well-watched locations like a school or a daycare–there are lower-risk ways to accomplish the same thing

    I am incredibly disappointed that you withheld these people’s identities. I worry that we as a culture are developing a rather twisted idea of “tolerance,” that a diversity of thoughts and opinions are so important that we are obligated to insulate people from the responses to and consequences of the irrational, offensive, and factually incorrect things they say.

    Well, I say no. If you think that insults and personal attacks are an appropriate way to engage with someone, then you have no reasonable expectation that your reprehensible conduct remains secret. And if you’re pushing for actions or policies on the basis of a completely incorrect understanding of the facts, or worse yet, deliberately distorting the facts to get the mob on your side, then decent people need to know who you are.

    Our tax dollars are used to enforce numerous stupid laws and policies that impact how the rest of us raise our children, and even impact people with nothing to do with children, because people like A.T. are pushing an agenda based on what we’re supposed to charitably accept as “alternative facts.” Perhaps as parents we can sympathize with her emotional immunity to any information that contradicts her narrow preconceptions, but as both parents and citizens, we’re obligated to do our best to keep our country a place we want our children to grow up. That means that when the ATs of the world push hysteria and falsehoods, we challenge them. When they’re trying to coerce the behavior of others, those people need to be able to see the past evidence of AT’s character and credibility.

  38. Jason January 31, 2017 at 2:16 pm #

    Terms like “human-” or “sex-trafficking” may imply a pimp or victimizer of some sort, but, as Pentamom says, trafficking is just illicit trade. If you prostitute yourself, you are undeniably in the sex trade, and are undeniably trafficking in sex.

    Obviously, though, the term does tend to be prejudicial, and conjures up images of operations, rings, and enterprises.

  39. Alanna January 31, 2017 at 2:45 pm #

    Does anyone know what happened to the other kid? It seems that this babysitter was supposed to pick up a different child. One child must have been left there at school waiting to be picked up. That would certainly be an inconvenience both to the teachers and to that child’s parents who were probably working. My point is that that seems to me to be a bigger problem then the fact that this child left with the wrong person and was later returned.

  40. Reziac January 31, 2017 at 3:00 pm #

    Donald: Geez, yes. expectations are EVERYTHING when it comes to shaping kids’ reactions. If you expect them to take it in stride, they will. If you expect them to be traumatized, then that’s what you’ll get.

    It was a silly mistake. It wasn’t nefarious. React appropriately, not only for the sake of your kid now, but for the future — so that IF something nefarious happens, we won’t think you’re just crying wolf.

  41. CrazyCatLady January 31, 2017 at 3:07 pm #

    When my daughter was about 4, she had one of those moments of learning. We were at the playground, she was running with some caring older girls and fell. They came over, fussed over her and gave her some candy. I causally checked her out, she was okay.

    A few minutes later she was running with the same girls and fell again. Another mom near me noticed and asked if I wasn’t going to go check her. “She is okay,” I said. The mom looked at me like I had the black death and moved away. (Thing is, a mom knows her own kids and what cry is real.) The older girls came over again and gave her more candy and she got up and ran around. The mom looked at me as realization dawned on her face what had happened…priceless.

    I did have a talk with my daughter about just asking for candy though, and not crying wolf. As that is not very nice and the other girls would catch on eventually.

  42. donald January 31, 2017 at 3:23 pm #

    “…….kids to process like FedEx packages (borrowing donald’s phrase)”

    It’s clever, isn’t it? I wish I could take credit. I saw it when I read something that Lenore wrote.

  43. donald January 31, 2017 at 3:45 pm #

    After this incident and the schools attempt at ensuring that this will NEVER happen again. Kids will have to wear bar code armbands. (improve the quality control of the walking FedEx packages)

    This WILL reduce mistakes but it will scream the message louder that children are not people. Kids hear this all of the time. This is WHY so many have low self-esteem, self-worth, low confidence, and high narcism

    “Ignoring the child’s frightened protestations”

    The bar code will take priority. This is because kids sometimes lie. For example, Timmy wants to play with his friend Johny and lives close by. He can walk home. It’s only a few doors down the road. What’s the harm in a little white lie?

  44. Steve January 31, 2017 at 4:51 pm #

    “Check out what’s happening in say Syria. THAT is a parents worst nightmare.”

    Amen!

    This is pretty bad, really. But if this had been my kid I would have expected a sincere apology and that would have been the end of it.

  45. Backroads January 31, 2017 at 5:24 pm #

    My worst parental nightmare is a lot more interesting than an accidental half-hour departure. It’s not good, of course, but not my worst nightmare.

  46. James Pollock January 31, 2017 at 5:51 pm #

    “Terms like “human-” or “sex-trafficking” may imply a pimp or victimizer of some sort, but, as Pentamom says, trafficking is just illicit trade. If you prostitute yourself, you are undeniably in the sex trade, and are undeniably trafficking in sex.”

    It’s a tiny little bit more deniable than you think, in the sense that prostitutes aren’t trafficking in sex. “Trafficking” means dealing in contraband. Sex isn’t contraband.
    The old name for “sex trafficking” was “white slavery”, which has fallen out of favor, because A) it implies that slavery of white folks is somehow more objectionable than slavery of the other colors that people come in, and B) most of the people who ARE sex trafficked, aren’t actually white.

    To compound on a point made earlier, sex traffickers are in it for the money. In order to make money, they have to be able to match up supply with demand. Contrary to popular obsession, there really isn’t much demand for grade-school-aged children in the sex industry. Most of the people who are sex-trafficked are adults, and most of the underage people who are sex-trafficked are physically sexually mature, because… and this is important… that’s the type of person that a majority of the people willing to pay for sex are willing to pay for sex WITH.

    I’m one of those libertarians who believes, in the abstract, that the government ought not to have much role in deciding who a person decides to have sex with, and ought to have very little say in the negotiations. But, on the other hand, I’ve no trouble with it at all if the government wants to make forcing someone else submit to an act of prostitution a major felony. And no, my opinion does not come about because I would like to patronize prostitutes without government intervention… I’m old-fashioned enough to want 100% of the cases of someone agreeing to have sex with me to be free of monetary exchange.

  47. Donna January 31, 2017 at 6:20 pm #

    “Terms like “human-” or “sex-trafficking” may imply a pimp or victimizer of some sort, but, as Pentamom says, trafficking is just illicit trade. If you prostitute yourself, you are undeniably in the sex trade, and are undeniably trafficking in sex.”

    The people in the country in charge of monitoring sex trafficking, the Office on Trafficking of Persons, define sex trafficking as “Sex trafficking is a modern-day form of slavery in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act is under the age of 18 years.” Note the requirement of force, fraud or coercion unless the child is minor and even then there must be some form of outside influence. Prostitution willingly engaged in by the person having sex is not sex trafficking.

    “Obviously, though, the term does tend to be prejudicial, and conjures up images of operations, rings, and enterprises.”

    Not at all. It just conjures up a person who manipulates someone else into engaging in sex acts generally at a higher financial gain for them than for the individual engaging in the sex act. The vast majority is the pimp down in the ‘hood, not some organized operation, ring or enterprise.

  48. Puzzled January 31, 2017 at 11:13 pm #

    Wait, did this kid have one of those toy trucks that advertise that the child is ready to be trafficked? That could explain things…

    Or maybe the babysitter should be dropped off in some inner city area and left to walk to the school to pick up the kids. There’s nothing wrong with that because it doesn’t violate a curfew.

  49. hineata February 1, 2017 at 1:17 am #

    My older girl is taking on babysitting jobs currently. If I’d realized she was actually going to be sex trafficking, I’d have made her start paying rent.

  50. Kimberly February 1, 2017 at 2:20 am #

    I find it interesting that these parents, who were so concerned about their child’s well-being, hired a babysitter that had never met the child? Even when I was babysitting 20 years ago, 30 years ago, the parents always had a sit-down with me in the house with the children.

  51. Cassie February 1, 2017 at 6:22 am #

    This babysitter was picking up 4 other kids, and this was not her first time doing it…. So presumably the staff recognised the babysitter. They knew her name, what she looked like and would have had her driver’s license on file.

    #sextraffickingfail

  52. Cerellia February 1, 2017 at 8:42 am #

    My son is free to walk in his neighbourhood alone or with friends where and with whom he wants but he is not allowed to go into another person’s car or house, if I have not specifically told him, no matter if we know the people or not. He can come home, give me notice and I won’t usually say “no”, but I want to know roughly where I can find him (that’s at the age of 6, as he gets older, these rules will obviously change).
    Now, there are many parents and a few substitute teachers (not the main teacher and principal) who find it disturbing that he is walking home from school alone (it’s not very common in my area, unfortunally), so parents often offer him a lift, which he declines (because he is pround to walk and because he knows, I don’t want him to take lifts like that). Once a substitute teacher pressured him to go with another parent and told him she wouldn’t let him go without an adult. In the end my son gave in. I was extremely angry with the school, because of this. It obviously was a misunderstanding, the principal hadn’t told the substitute teacher that this was the arrangement, the other parent thought he was doing us all a favour but how can the school ignore the child’s concerns? If in doubt they could have asked the principal how this is normally dealt with or phoned me what the arrangement was (our school is small enough that this would not have been an unreasonable effort).
    Comming back to the original article, I can understand that this was a very frustrating experience for the child to be ignored in his concerns.

  53. Sam February 1, 2017 at 9:32 am #

    Indeed the kid was treated as a FedEx package. As usual, the adults are busy following a prescribed routine (even with a little mistake) which is supposed to be for the children’s benefit, while the children are mere objects to be completely ignored.

  54. diane February 1, 2017 at 11:32 am #

    @Kimberly, it was a different set of parents who hired a babysitter their child had never met. That child didn’t leave the premises. The one that was mistakenly picked up by the babysitter had no such arrangement.
    I think the biggest apology needs to be made to the child, by all the adults, for not listening to him. He spoke up, as I’m sure he’d been told to do when being “taken” by a stranger, and the adults he did know and trust did not heed his concerns.

  55. Wendy February 1, 2017 at 3:07 pm #

    I could see this happening.

    Why is everything a parent’s worst nightmare? My worst nightmare is the police standing at the door because my kid was killed in a car accident… a more realistic nightmare that has happened in my circle more than I’d like to share. My worst nightmare is my kid getting a terminal diagnosis (especially for something I’ve missed, ie I ignored the wart on his foot because it’s a wart and they heal — but really it was the only warning sign of horrible thing). I can talk myself clear of the CRAZY nightmares — things I’ve read in a book or seen on tv but I know to be not realistic… but these? These things that I’ve seen happen? They scare the bejeezus out of me.

  56. pentamom February 1, 2017 at 6:08 pm #

    I think for the average person not familiar with the realities, it does conjure up things like the rings, operations and enterprises. What it “conjures up” in the minds of the general public doesn’t have much relationship to what’s real or what knowledgeable people know about it.

  57. Jason February 2, 2017 at 12:16 am #

    When sex is the product/good/service, and you are exchanging it for money, which is generally illegal, then it is illicit. Who says trafficking requires a tangible product (“contraband”)? By that definition, there can be no such thing as sex trafficking – only human trafficking – but as the term does exist, not everyone must agree with that.

    As traffic is also synonymous with trade, although with currently negative connotations, then an individual can traffic in sex, even when they are willingly doing so as a solo endeavor.

    I’m sorry of the federal government’s official definition doesn’t agree with that, but they are not linguists nor etymologists, nor does their definition have any general authority over usage.

  58. James Pollock February 2, 2017 at 1:04 am #

    “By that definition, there can be no such thing as sex trafficking – only human trafficking – but as the term does exist, not everyone must agree with that.”

    You are correct, the term “human trafficking” does exist. Sex trafficking is a subset of human trafficking. Which is what I said before. (Hint: It’s not illegal to to be human, either, but it CAN be illegal for a specific human to be in a specific place, say, inside a country they are not a citizen of.)

    “I’m sorry of the federal government’s official definition doesn’t agree with that, but they are not linguists nor etymologists, nor does their definition have any general authority over usage.”
    No, you remain free to use words in whatever way you choose to do so. However, good luck when you try to argue that, although a word has a specific meaning within a statute (which are, of course, made out of words, and nothing more), you choose to define the word differently than does the government.
    You are correct that “traffic” is a very flexible word, with several distinct and separate meanings. But “human trafficking” and “sex trafficking” have specific meanings, so although it IS correct to refer to the traffic on the freeway during the morning commute, it is not “human trafficking”, even though all that traffic is about moving humans from their homes to their workplaces.

    Consider the application to drugs. Crack cocaine is always “trafficked”. OxyContin is sometimes “trafficked”, and sometimes not… it depends on circumstances. Aspirin is never “trafficked”. Oh, you can refer to your local Walgreen’s as a “drug trafficker” if you really insist, but people will look at you like you’re misusing the word. Because you are. Not unlike the way a 350-pound man can be nicknamed “Tiny”, or a Chihuahua puppy can be called “Killer”, or a used car lot can be called “Honest John’s Used Cars”.

  59. James Pollock February 2, 2017 at 1:10 am #

    and one more thing:

    “nor does their definition have any general authority over usage.”

    Duh. Nobody’s definition has any general authority over usage. There’s literally no such thing as a definition that has general authority over usage.

  60. chornedsnorkack February 2, 2017 at 6:34 am #

    Did the child in question issue “frightened protestations” as soon as he was handed over to a strange babysitter, or only when he noticed they were in a strange neighbourhood?

  61. Donna February 2, 2017 at 8:35 am #

    “Consider the application to drugs. Crack cocaine is always “trafficked”. OxyContin is sometimes “trafficked”, and sometimes not… it depends on circumstances. Aspirin is never “trafficked”. Oh, you can refer to your local Walgreen’s as a “drug trafficker” if you really insist, but people will look at you like you’re misusing the word. Because you are.”

    And rarely does any of that meet the LEGAL definition of drug trafficking, which in all states that I know of requires the possession of a large – beyond user or street seller – amount of a controlled substance. Dre down on the street corner selling a couple hits of crack to support his habit is not, under the law, a drug trafficker. He is simply a drug dealer. His supplier is likely not a drug trafficker. You likely have to go a few rings up the drug ladder before you get to the someone who dealt with enough drugs at one time to be a drug trafficker for legal purposes.

  62. Donna February 2, 2017 at 12:57 pm #

    “I think for the average person not familiar with the realities, it does conjure up things like the rings, operations and enterprises.”

    For many it probably does, but we should not endorse that false conjuring. If it were true that the 1,450 arrests for sex trafficking were for people who were part of large rings and operations, sex trafficking would be a scary threat as large-scale organized crime can carry out plots that can never be accomplished by individuals with no resources. However, when you look at the reality sex trafficking which is mostly inner city pimps using runaways and drug addicts for their own profit, it is not so scary. It is horribly sad, but not exactly a scenario that most of the people concerned about sex trafficking need to worry about.

  63. Papilio February 3, 2017 at 7:22 pm #

    @Hineata: LOL. Don’t forget her taxes… 😛

  64. James Pollock February 4, 2017 at 1:19 am #

    “And rarely does any of that meet the LEGAL definition of drug trafficking, which in all states that I know of requires the possession of a large – beyond user or street seller – amount of a controlled substance.”

    You missed the point pretty badly.
    Crack (which is always illegal), is “trafficked”. Oxy, which is a controlled substance but legal to have for some people…i.e., pharmacists, and people in the production and distribution chains at PurduePharma, but also is distributed in ways not authorized by law… so sometimes it’s “trafficked”, and sometimes it’s not “trafficked”. For example, there’s a guy who drives truckload after truckload of Oxy pills from the factory to the pharmacies who’s got WAY more Oxy than any user or street dealer… but he’s not a “trafficker”. He’s just a truck driver. And Aspirin is never “trafficked”, no matter how much weight a person is found in possession of.

    I mean, sure, you can refer to PurduePharma as a “drug trafficker”… their business is the manufacture and distribution of drugs… but referring to them as a “drug trafficker” is done expressly for the purpose of suggesting that they have similarity with people who manufacture, distribute, and sell drugs illegally. The same is true when Starbucks is called a “drug trafficker”… referring to them as such is not intended as an accurate description of their business… because “trafficking”, as used in English, is commercial buying and selling of things which are by nature illegal. This has nothing to do with how the term is used as a term of Art in the legal profession.

  65. SKL February 5, 2017 at 5:51 pm #

    Sex trafficking isn’t as rare as it should be, but this isn’t the way it happens. So no this was not a huge sex trafficking risk. The lady knew the other 4 kids, so I assume the school knew her and trusted (correctly) that she was not a child murderer.

    The screw-up was not with this lady actually. She went and asked for Joe Kid and was given Joe Kid. It is not surprising that Joe Kid acted funny about a new lady taking him home, even if he was the right Joe Kid. Joe Kid at 5yo might have been confused and scared even if he was the right Joe Kid. When she realized the mistake, the lady brought the kid back right away.

    Who screwed up then? I don’t know. The parent who had arranged for the correct Joe Kid to be picked up? Did she not inform the school and her child of the new procedure? Or was it the school’s mix-up not making sure they were pulling the right Joe Kid? Can we assume that when the granny of the taken Joe Kid arrived, the school was able to tell her what happened? Then, knowing the sitter was within walking distance, the obvious thing to do would be calm down and wait. Not freak out and sue.

    Either way it was a minor mistake and nobody got hurt.

  66. SKL February 5, 2017 at 5:59 pm #

    As for teaching kids to fear, I hear a lot nowadays about kids fearing this or that is going to happen to them because of who is president etc. 100% of the parents of these kids are themselves politically against said president etc. (Example: fear that they, legal documented citizens, will be deported.) Funny that it’s only their kids who are having these irrational fears. The parents insist they are not instilling these fears, but they are lying to themselves. It’s sad and it makes me kinda mad that people are saying illogical things that give their kids nightmares. But there is no reasoning with them.

  67. James Pollock February 6, 2017 at 9:32 pm #

    “As for teaching kids to fear, I hear a lot nowadays about kids fearing this or that is going to happen to them because of who is president etc. 100% of the parents of these kids are themselves politically against said president”

    er, no.
    The operators of the daycare my daughter went to were of different political affiliation(s) than I am. They were not shy about sharing their preferences in the presence of the kids. Meanwhile, I did not feel any need to politically indoctrinate a child in primary school… it’s not like they can vote.

    ” (Example: fear that they, legal documented citizens, will be deported.)”
    Legal documented resident aliens have been deported and denied entry in the past, and legal documented citizens who happened to be members of unpopular groups have been rounded up and herded into detention camps on several different occasions in our nation’s history.
    So, members of unpopular groups might have reason to fear, although that fear is PROBABLY overblown by a few orders of magnitude. The current ruling party DID spend much of the last decade looking for ways to disenfranchise voters.