Okay, 89,000 shares of this kbdtsbyhaf
pieceÂ from ForEveryMom:
Momâ€™s Warning to Other Parents After Being Followed While Shopping: â€œWe Were Targetsâ€
A trip to IKEA with her 3 kids turns terrifying when her family is targeted for human trafficking by two men.
Diandra Toyos is a Southern California mom of three kiddos aged 4, 1.5, and 7 weeks. Looking for a fun outing, she and her mom decided to take the kids to their local IKEA recently to do some couch shopping and â€œget the kids out of the house.â€ But Toyos never could have imagined that their lighthearted shopping trip was about to take a sinister turn.
In a Facebook post that has since gone mega-viral, Toyos describes an incident that happened to her family that day, and how she wants to warn other parents to be careful and take it seriously…
What the heck is going on, America? This “My kids were about to be trafficked, I just KNOW it” post is so shockingly similar to last week’s, “My kids were about to be trafficked, I just KNOW it” post that it feels…creepy. A lot creepier than being at Ikea where a couple of men glance at my kids.
The reader who sent me this link asked if I thought there might be some “validity” to it, to which I must respond: No. In fact, I think it’s crazy. What, two men are going to grab two or three kids, all under age 7, IN PUBLIC, in a camera-filled IKEA, with the MOM and the GRANDMA right there, not to mention a zillion other fans of Swedish furnishings?
Can we please PLEASE take a deep breath and realize how insanely unlikely that is? How we don’t need to be “warned” about this? How NOTHING HAPPENED!
You can TELL nothing happened, because the whole thing was described as an “incident.” And Lenore’s #1 Rule of Reporting is: When something is called an “incident,” it’s becauseÂ nothing happened. In fact, my alternate headline for this post was:
POINTLESSLY TERRIFIED MOM URGES OTHER MOMS TO BE POINTLESSLY TERRIFIED
So while we’re at it, here’s a snippet of last week’s note from David Finkelhor, head of the Crimes Against Children Research Center, on the likelihood (or not) of sex trafficking of young children in America:
Child abduction rarely occurs in a crowded public venue like that, where help would be easy to muster.
Â Most sex trafficking lures and abductions are of teenagers.
Mom’s Warning to Other Parents After Being Followed While Shopping: “We Were Targets”
This will start showing up on the list of symptoms of mental illness. 😛
My kids have been in the public a lot, and I think they were fairly cute until recently, yet I never ever had the feeling anyone was trying to grab them and sell them. Even though they were potty trained! And I didn’t even stay all that close to them ….
Once my sister told me about how she thought some guy at the kids’ hands-on exhibit at the museum was trying to get his hands on her tots. I think I made her mad by minimizing her alarm. Whatever. Her kids are still alive and well, so ….
The alternate headline is pretty hilarious. You should keep that and use it another time.
Alternative headline, “Men have staring contest with anxious mom in sofa section of Ikea”.
There is this strange need among parents on social media for validation that they are being diligent and protecting their kids from all of these secret kidnappers who look at their children. I believe in trusting your gut, but why post your *feeling* on social media to share with other already paranoid parents? I just don’t get it.
Anyone else stop reading after a morning at Ikea with three kids was described as a “fun outing”… ha ha ha.
There is also a racist element. I was on next door thinking it would be about block parties and garage sales. It was about posting addresses of sex offenders. I blasted that one with facts,including the fact that the offender had moved out of on of the houses 7 yo. I know this because it is near me and new residents were nearly arrested for handling out candy at Halloween 5 years ago.
Then thie same woman posted how her kids were nearly kidnapped and so
1 referred to her kids as blond angels
2 posted pic of the terrorist the woman was tanned or brown and wearing a halter top. Not exactly what fundamentalist terrorists are wearing this season
3 what did this scary possibility not white person in the most diverse US city do she offered to help the blond angels wash there hands in the bathroom while the mom was in the stall and she was on the patio without kids with her phone out and she refused to hand it over so the mom could delete the pictures she was taking. Apparently because there is a sandbox for kids to play in only people with kids can sit outside.
After reporting that post, I took screen shots and quit next door. I happen to be a regular at the restaurant and gave the manager a heads up. He rolled his eyes and thanked me. About a week later, I was given a free meal as thanks. Seems the blond angels are little sand throwing demons and it was not the first racial pot stirring from Mom. Thing was the manager couldn’t prove this to higher ups, because it was racist mom’s word against management and her victims usually refused to complain. The screen shots got racist Mom and her family banned.
You think it’s funny until it happens to you or someone close to you. I’d rather ensure any Childs safety versus the alternate… trafficking is very serious and does happen more often than people realize… Stop living in a bubble folks we live in a world with some twisted people!
No one thinks sex trafficking is funny. Awareness is important- it happens mostly to teens, especially those with tumultuous home lives that run away,
NOT to babies and toddlers despite what this mom thinks.
Do you know anyone that was a victim of sex trafficking?
Can you name any toddlers or young kids in your own town that were kidnapped?
There are a lot of twisted people out there…posting about these grave dangers of rare crimes when the DRESSERS from Ikea are more likely to harm your kids! Common sense is in short supply these days.
Wow! The fact that you think her kids weren’t being targeted is ridiculous. You weren’t there. You don’t know what she was feeling and seeing. So you know how traffickers work? Who are you to say they wouldn’t grab kids that young in a public area? Yeah ok. Until something like this happens to you, you have no reason to invalidate what she experienced and say nothing was going to happen or that her kids weren’t targeted. She was being vigilant and keeping a watch on her kids which more people need to do in this day and age. Shame on you for saying she was pointlessly terrified.
Yes this world is just full of twisted people.
There are twisted people who raise their kids to fear everything, and it lasts with them through adulthood.
There are twisted people who don’t teach their kids even basic skills because it’s too dangerous, and they suffer in adulthood having never gained the skills.
There are twisted people who monitor everything their child does, never letting them out of their sight, never learning independence as an adult.
There are twisted people who teach their children nothing in the world is safe, and thus the child stays lonely.
There are twisted people who teach their children no person is safe, and thus they hide from rescuers when lost in the woods.
There are twisted people who call CPS on parents who trust their children.
There are twisted people who call CPS on parents who do not wish to risk their children in a traffic heavy parking lot.
There are twisted people who deny children any and all independence.
And those people are who this blog attempts to help fight against.
It is a sad and messed up world when the leading cause of death among Middle School aged children is not car accidents or kidnappings but SUICIDE.
More preteens and young teens kill themselves than ever before. Why is that?
What has changed in parenting and childhood development that instead of raising confident and capable young adults our youth are more anxious, depressed, and suicidal than ever before?
OK so I finally read the linked story.
She says “those men were not shopping.” Neither was she! She thought Ikea was a place to hang out with her kids, letting them jump on their couches and apparently eat on them (per the photo). What kind of nut? And then she thinks she’s the only person allowed to do that?
News flash – when you have little kids, people are going to look at your kids. Kids tend to be eye-catching. You might even get stares and glares if you let them jump on other people’s furniture.
And if she really felt scared, why didn’t she pick up and leave immediately and report the situation to security on her way out? Who would decide to sit around for a half hour in a room with people you think are trying to snatch your kids? Hello?
She’s obviously nuts, but so are all the people who are encouraging her. Insane.
‘She says â€œthose men were not shopping.â€’
The first thing that occurred to me was that the men wanted to check out the furniture she was camped out on and they were wondering when the hell she was going to move her ass and her kids somewhere else.
This is becoming ridiculous. If I win the lottery, I will buy ad time and put out a PSA stating that sex trafficking is nothing more than a big scary word for the world’s oldest profession. Prostitution, and later pornography, has always had a very exploitive vein running through it and we’ve now coined a new word that addresses that exploitive side. But the heart of the situation has not really changed from what existed back in Biblical times. And the situation has never involved ripping infants and toddlers from their parents arms during a pleasant family outing and raising them until they become a profitable age. Ripping infants and toddlers from the the arms of their parents as the spoils of war, possibly; but not on a pleasant shopping excursion in suburbia. I have no idea what these men were up to, if they were up to anything at all, but I can pretty much guarantee that it was not sex trafficking.
What is funny is that all this helicopter parenting makes kids more vulnerable to sex trafficking. Sex trafficking does not involve small children. Sex trafficking does not involve abducting happy, well-adjusted children. It involves exploiting unhappy children, many of whom turn to drugs to escape whatever unhappiness is going on in their lives. This constant pressure of achievement and perfection that is turning middle class teens to prescription drugs makes them more vulnerable to sex trafficking. Kids putting themselves in dangerous situations to escape the constant fish bowl of their lives makes them more vulnerable. Kids not having a self-protective capacity when they finally escape the thumb of their parents makes them more vulnerable. Kids believing that sex trafficking equals abduction by several strangers and not the charming guy who is promising to save them from their world makes them more vulnerable.
Nessa and KV:
You appear to be new here. I encourage you to research a bit of what free-range parenting is, what it’s not, and the actual, verifiable statistics it is based on. You should probably do this before commenting again. As a bonus, you’ll find you feel less paranoid in your daily interactions with the world. Best of luck!
And Nessa and KV, read both of Donna’s posts above. Learn what “sex trafficking” actually is.
The real lesson here, after seeing these photos with shoes on the sofa, the little girl eating snacks, and a pacifier on the ottoman at Ikea, is to not buy the floor models, they are discounted for a reason! Gross.
Have people never been INSIDE an Ikea?? There’s no way you’re dragging a child out of their past the 10 miles of maze like paths through the Fjellse, RingskÃ¤r, and Elverdam without ANYONE NOTICING.
I am really, really getting sick of seeing these stories shared on Facebook. Itâ€™s always the same thing; mom is in a super heavily populated public area and is literally holding her kids in her arms (essentially the least likely time your kid would be kidnapped), stranger says something weird or socially inappropriate, mom decides the only possible explanation is that OMG that was a trafficker after my kids!!
My father has aspergers and has made me cringe at times by how socially oblivious he can be, and how bad he is at picking up on it when he makes someone uncomfortable. I could so see him on the accusing end of a trafficking comment one of these days.
“You think itâ€™s funny until it happens to you or someone close to you.”
First, this post is not trivializing kidnap or trafficking. If anything, the paranoia is trivializing it–by constantly hearing about it kidnapping becomes normalized, and by constantly hearing about stories where trafficking isn’t actually happening we lose our ability to accurately judge when it IS likely. There’s a thing in medicine where medical students watch shows like House and Scrubs, and screw up procedures because those procedures are done incorrectly on those shows. Same thing here. We are learning the wrong things by allowing these stories to dominate the conversation.
Second, the idea that we must take any measure at all to prevent an astronomically unlikely event is insane. I mean, if we lock all children up in maximum-security prisons where every moment of the day is rigidly scheduled and they are under constant guard, they’d be very safe! But I think we’d all consider a society that did that treated their children the same as it treats murderers, rapists, and terrorists to be somewhat in error. Further, all safety measures have a cost; they all involve trade-offs. You’re not considering those, and are actually arguing AGAINST considering them.
Third, as was pointed out, there are racist (and sexist) aspects of this. One of the trade-offs to treating all men glancing at your kids as possible predators is that you teach your kids to view all men as evil. For little boys this results in them believing they are intrinsically evil (see suicide and depression rates among teenage boys), and for little girls it results in them having tremendous difficulty trusting men. I’ve seen it happen a number of times. Replace “men” with “foreigners” and the statement works just as well. Is that REALLY the lesson you want to teach? Pure, unadulterated racist and sexist bigotry?!
Finally, you lose out on so much when you take that view. The overwhelming majority of people are good people; they will treat kids with kindness and courtesy. Kids can learn a lot by talking to people, and some of my fondest memories were random encounters between my kids and adults none of us knew. To lose out on that because of unwarranted fear is insane.
As an aside, this almost DID happen to my family, so you don’t get to tell me to sit down and shut up. I had a sister that made a mistake. Fortunately, she realized it, got out of the situation, and came home. What the woman in this article is doing is trivializing the hours my family spent worrying about whether my sister was alive or not. Men looking at your kids is vastly different from an actual attempted kidnapping; real victims deserve to be treated better. People like those in these articles, who use fear of terrible events as a way to get their 15 minutes of fame, are parasites, pure and simple.
Oh, the comments! Sex traffickers are apparently waiting EVERYWHERE for a mom to lose CONSTANT VIGILANCE for one second and will swoop in and take the kid!
But… but… surely MY precious offspring are so attractive that the sex traffickers would break all their usual modes of operation just to get their hands on ’em, right?
If it’s that rampant, then pretty much every man on the planet likes sex with babies.
Or, people on the internet are frickin perverts.
Whether it’s true or not, these things happen every day. You should read the news more if you don’t believe it. Parents need to be ore aware of their surroundings and their kids. Please don’t downplay that.
For KV: Have you ever been to an IKEA? It’s nearly impossible to get out of their labyrinthine, mazelike corridors, let alone with three abducted children in tow.
How do you imagine the abduction would happen? The two guys scoop up the kids and run, past the Erntje coffee table, the Klemna TV stand, the Ikken computer desk, then down the stairs, past the restaurant where they serve Swedish meatballs and lingonberry crepes, and out past the checkout counters, with nobody noticing two men carrying three screaming children?
NB: The phrase ‘in this day and age’ to indicate that we live in a maelstrom of crime and depravity and not one of the safest eras in human history is totally invalid. Please educate yourself to the facts and stop watching CSI Special Victims Unit and Fox News.
Lenore, You answer is right on!
Just yesterday, while waiting for a bus, I–single, male “seasoned citizen”–met a neighbor’s grandchild for the first time. The baby looked at me and smiled, and immediately reached out for me. Grandma passed the pre-toddler to me while big sister, 3, stood by. Nobody panicked, and besides, I don’t know what I’d do with a couple of small children.
Really? Do you have anything to back that up or are you just believing the media hype? Yes it happens, I won’t argue that. When it does 99% of the time FAMILY members are the traffickers.
Ikea would be the worst possible place to kidnap a child from. You grab one and start running for the exit, only to find you’re actually two miles from it and have to hit almost every section, and then you take what you think is a shortcut only to end up where you started. And minimally intelligent kidnapper knows you only snatch kids from densely populated playgrounds/schools or on Halloween.
And it would probably behoove you to stop watching MSNBC news also.
I dunno, is there a happy medium somewhere? Yes, “attempted sex trafficking” is rather on the melodramatic side and wildly overstated. It is very hard to believe that these men were going to drag three screaming kids out of the monstrous maze known as Ikea. On the other hand, this woman *and* her mother felt extremely uncomfortable with these men who, according to her report, followed them around for a significant amount of time, even sitting when they were sitting, standing when they stood, etc. I think it’s good when people trust their instincts and protect themselves and their families.
Yes, if they were that uncomfortable, they probably just should have left right away. But people do weird things under stress. My mother served on a jury where a guy walked in on an uncle in the act of sexually abusing a child. His response was to walk back out, get in his car and drive around I-465 around Indianapolis until his car ran out of gas. My mother herself witnessed a man breaking into a car and sat there thinking, “that poor guy is locked out of his car”. Even when she realized it was a crime in process, she continued the client call she was on because she didn’t want to upset the client. I was recently attacked by a homeless guy on the El who took my phone out of my hand and hit me with it. Rather than rationally getting the hell away from him, I fought with him to get my phone back. A rape victim advocate once told me about a woman from the Second City comedy club who was raped. She cracked so many jokes in the ER that, excuse the pun, she had everyone in stitches. But then no one believed she’d really been raped. Stress has a tendency to disengage the executive functions of our brain and we react on autopilot. It’s really hard to judge a situation based on how someone reacted under stress – we all react differently.
“[trafficking] does happen more often than people realize…”
Says who? What is your basis for saying that? How do you know the extent to which people realize the magnitude? Are you implying that you have information that Lenore and others who frequent this site don’t? You don’t make human trafficking less rare just because you say so.
Reading these comments makes me wonder why Ikea passes fire inspections. 😛
“Whether itâ€™s true or not, these things happen every day. You should read the news more if you donâ€™t believe it. Parents need to be ore aware of their surroundings and their kids. Please donâ€™t downplay that.”
Let’s break this down, once piece at a time.
“Whether itâ€™s true or not”
Interesting choice of lead-in. Of course, all statements are either true or not true.
“these things happen every day.”
Agreed. People have senseless, irrational panic attacks every day. The people who have this problem need help, and they’re desperately asking for it. We should give it to them. But pretending their delusions are real is not the way to help.
“You should read the news more if you donâ€™t believe it.”
The era of post-fact news is upon us. If you want to hear that attempted abductions of toddlers by sex traffickers is way up, that’s what you’ll get. But… it still isn’t real.
“Parents need to be ore aware of their surroundings and their kids. Please donâ€™t downplay that.”
Absolutely! There are REAL dangers to kids, that parents need to protect their kids from and kids need to learn to avoid. But… sex traffickers looking to steal toddlers in crowded stores? Not really a danger.
Here’s the deal. Yes, some kids are taken by people with mental illness… You get a schizophreniac who hears God telling him to take many wives because the End Times are coming, or a woman who recently lost a child who latches onto someone else’s out of grief… she can’t handle the fact that her own child is gone, so her illness manifests in denial. These things can happen, although they are fairly low in the ranking of actual dangers to your kids.
On the other hand, sex trafficking is a business. The pimps aren’t in it because they get satisfaction from it, they’re in it because they get money. In order to get money, they have to be able to find customers, and lots of them. Most men want to have sex with attractive young women. Guess who the sex traffickers want to recruit… they want teenaged girls, who lack a support system that might give them a better option than prostitution. It is unfortunately true that there are enough teenaged girls who are sufficiently estranged from family… the pimps don’t have to get toddlers and raise them to be prostitutes.
Dienne, the fact is that all of these “facts” are being told by one person. Even the report of how her mother felt. So it all depends on her credibility, which is unknown.
That said – when you have something harrowing happen to you, do you go home and post it on the internet for the whole world to see? Because I don’t. People who have actual proven violent crimes happen to them don’t run home and post them on the public internet. It’s people who are looking for attention who do that.
This phenomenon is not new. Recommended reading: Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, Charles Mackay, 1841.
Mackay’s book is available all over the intarwebs for free. It’s synopsized in wikipedia. It will provide some insight into how these popular delusions form, grow, and eventually end in debacles, often suddenly.
The intarwebs provide the means, far faster than word of mouth or letters or telegrams, for propagation of delusions; and sometimes the means for their demise.
Another thing – regarding real dangers. Professionals have put a lot of work into understanding the profile of a child abductors, how they target and abduct the children and how they manage to get away with it. There is a lot of real factual information that might actually be useful. However, with all of these ridiculous sensational stories and warnings out there, the substantive warnings are getting drowned out.
For example, people think it’s tots who are likely to be snatched. But the reality is that children past puberty and women are much more likely to be attacked, abducted, and raped. People talk like the older a person is, the less likely a victim she is. Statistically that is not true.
And, people need to get over the idea that their little kids are sex objects. I mean, that is just sick. How does such a parent even pass the parental fitness test? (As an adoptive parent, I had to pass one, and so did some of the paranoid nutsos I know.)
No, Amanda, they don’t happen every day. Read some facts. Children taken by strangers or slight acquaintances represent only one-hundredth of 1 percent of all missing children. The last comprehensive study estimated that the number was 115 in a year. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/five-myths-about-missing-children/2013/05/10/efee398c-b8b4-11e2-aa9e-a02b765ff0ea_story.html
Most human trafficking is of teens and young adults. Furthermore, most human trafficking is done for the purpose of enforced labor.
I’m old. I’ve known a countless number of people and families in my life. I have never EVER known a family who had a child just disappear or a family who had a kid snatched. I knew one family whose troubled teen ran away. She came home a couple of years later and said she had gotten mixed up with drugs and prostitution, but she was able to leave when she wanted. I know there are situations where that is not true, and those are horrible. But in our America, unless a child runs away, it is virtually unheard of.
All of the Ikea’s that I’ve been through had a one-way path taking you through every section of the store in order. Pretty much guaranteeing that strangers would be following you through your whole shopping trip, since everyone was on the same path.
This is part and parcel of the new American pastime: How can I (emphasis on the I) become “famous” for doing nothing, having no real accomplishment and become an internet star? Why, I can be an egotistical fear monger!! Maybe Robin Roberts will feel sorry for me. Maybe lots of moms I don’t know will think I’m a superstar and a valiant protector of my children.
However, with that comes any number of rational, reality-based people who will think you’re an attention-grabbing, self-important egoist who would rather imagine monsters under the bed than raise children to be in community with other human beings.
Trafficking todders? I practically did a spit take.
Go read O. Henry’s “The Ransom of Red Chief.” That’s much more likely with a toddler.
So I guess “your kids are too ugly to be sex-trafficked” will be the new insult and alleged stalking will be the new status symbol.
When I was in college I worked in a large department store. When I was in the locker area I often saw a good looking gentleman walk through. I asked someone about him and they said he was a store detective. I assume some store still have security who do not wear uniforms? They are not shopping, just observing. I am convinced I live in a world of wackos.
The best part of this story is that they were “following” in Ikea. Ikea makes you walk through the store in a specific order. Its not like they were in a Department Store and happened to turn left or right. You have to follow the pattern in Ikea. Moreover, as others pointed out, you couldnt get from the sofas to the door of an Ikea in less than 10 minutes if you were a Navy Seal. This woman is doing what lots of us did as children–fantasize about our lives being more important or exciting. Children do this. They imagine things and play fantasy games. This woman is doign the same but hten scaring other morons who believe the stories.
I find it interesting that law enforcement is telling people this is how sex trafficking happens. Really? I can’t remember the last news story I saw where a child was kidnapped from a public place without something else like meeting an online acquaintance in person or an estranged relative taking the child. Yes sex trafficking is real but the most likely children trafficked are often sold into it by parents who are desperate or some other situation not likely to happen in IKEA. I’m getting tired of seeing this story in my feed posted over and over again by friends who mean well but don’t seem to understand the unlikeliness of this being an actual thing.
“I dunno, is there a happy medium somewhere?”
Sure: be aware of your surroundings at all times, take note of people around you and what they’re doing (particularly anyone who appears to have taken an interest in you), and have an exit strategy. Or, to use a single phrase, practice situational awareness. That’s just reasonable precaution, one that can help add joy to being in public (if you’re aware of your surroundings, for example, you notice fun things to do that others miss). And then go home, pour yourself a glass of your beverage of choice, and relax. It’s over.
The issue here isn’t that the women felt threatened. The problem is with the fact that they used this experience for self-aggrandizement. Instead of saying “That was weird” and moving on, they tried to spread this experience as widely as they could. They are attempting to use their children to become famous. THAT is despicable. Real abductions are terrifying events that can traumatize people even if they aren’t successful. To use something like that to become famous requires a mentality that has no consideration for the children they are ostensibly trying to protect.
One thing to note: We can debate whether or not her reasoning was right without attacking the woman. She had her reasons–and it’s basic critical thinking to analyze those reasons. It’s not an insult; if anything, it’s a compliment. We’re taking her seriously, rather than (as would perhaps be more appropriate) simply laughing at the ridiculous antics of a paranoid person. A lot of people–even some in the comments here–don’t seem to get that in our culture.
“Another thing â€“ regarding real dangers. Professionals have put a lot of work into understanding the profile of a child abductors, how they target and abduct the children and how they manage to get away with it. There is a lot of real factual information that might actually be useful. However, with all of these ridiculous sensational stories and warnings out there, the substantive warnings are getting drowned out.”
Has anyone even noticed the “Read this Next” link at the bottom of the article? It’s advice from a pediatrician on how to protect your kids from sex abuse. It has a slightly hysterical tone, but appears to be full of valid, factual, information (“Stranger danger is a fallacy”) as well as stuff that might or might not be “fact” (“Lots of people are molested for the first time at sleepovers”) but that is only taken a little too far (“so my kids can only sleep over at the houses of a handful of trusted friends”).
What I find ominous is that the blogger who posted this (For Every Mom) openly admits to stalking Jesus.
Please! Won’t somebody think of the FACTS????
If this was happening every day, to these little white kids….wouldn’t there be a like ton of Amber Alerts? Not just the ones from the non-custodial fathers who took the child longer than expected?
Granted…I know our police are not fair….but I know that there are lots of REALLY cute little kids of various colors….do they not end up on an Amber Alert if they are abducted from Ikea, Starbucks, the local grocery or truck stop?
And I have to agree with Lenore…why would anyone in their right mind pick a place FULL of cameras? Okay, so they are not in their right minds…but assuming they want to get away with it, and assuming that they had more than one person in on it….wouldn’t they talk to each other and pick a better spot?
Please….someone link me to some Amber Alert facts. So that I can quote it…please….
Here is another thought. So, this woman did a “reply” that I saw, not sure if it is in the story or not. Anyhow…she says she did contact the store and the men were not theft reduction employees. But…..what if the store lied? They don’t want those people “outed”. They wouldn’t be able to do their job.
When I lived in CA, one grocery store I went to started checking grocery bags on the way out of the store. They “claimed” it was for theft prevention after they put in the self scan check outs. But, I noticed that they were checking the bags of women with children, and not checking single men and women. Makes me think that their security noticed a pattern of shoplifters who used the kids to hide the fact that they were shoplifting. Might have been the same thing with Ikea.
(I did call the store out on their profiling – told them they needed different color bags for the self check so they could check only those, or they needed to check EVERYONE, not just women with children. They quit the checks not long after that. I threatened to not come back if I was singled out again.)
I guess that she just wanted to make herself to look “interesting”. You can so easily do it through internet – it is quite tempting. Pathetic.
CrazyCatLady@ Isn’t it illegal to be searched by a supermarket security? I do not know, but I am sure that in Europe you can refuse that. Only police are supposed to do this.
I wonder how often those who make unfree-rangeish comments here come back to read the refutations of their “it happens all the time” remarks?
I googled the mother’s name because I was looking for a police report or something when it first popped up in my newsfeed, and she came up on all kids of blogs and things. Her story going viral has increased the visibility of her web brand… imagine that…
I -do- know one person who was a victim of human trafficking as a young child, but it wasn’t in the United States and it was child labor, not sex trafficking.
My first thought was that the men were store employees (and, like CrazyCatLady, that the store might not tell her who they were)… Or that they people who wanted to look at those same couches… Or people who were annoyed that she was letting her kids sit on every couch and putting her own feet on the store’s furniture… (I’m really not convinced that shopping for couches means the kids sit on every couch. That’s letting your kids sit on the furniture, not trying it out. At least not until you find THE couch and want to make sure everyone fits.)
Anyone else notice that both this post and the last child trafficking one had links to awareness sites?
When you’re in a store like Ikea, where there’s a “flow” to how the displays are, if you enter at the same time as another person you’re likely to be going through the store with them. Nobody is following anyone else, they’re just SHOPPING.
“Isnâ€™t it illegal to be searched by a supermarket security?”
It varies widely from state to state.
All the states allow them to ask for consent and the search if consent is given.
Some stores make consenting to bag searches a requirement to entering the store. If you’re in the store, you have given consent.
Some states give merchants some “self-help” rights to combat theft. The catch with those, generally, is that if the person is NOT a thief, then there is no safe-harbor provision. (Obviously, if you ARE a merchant, you should consult an attorney licensed in your state to find out what your rights are, and if you work for a merchant, you should follow the directions your LP staff give.)
People often confuse what the police have to do to search you (because of the fourth amendment) and what people who are not police are limited by (generally, battery tort law and possibly assault criminal law).
There was a case recently in Oregon. A customer skipped the bag check and attempted to leave. An employee tried to stop him, and the customer physically attacked the store employee. A second store employee, seeing another employee being attacked, responded in kind, severely injuring the customer.
Maybe it is more of “bag check” than a search. They ask for the receipt and make sure there are not extra items. They do not search your personal bags. But still…they were only doing this to women with kids…..most of the women in that area were of a darker hue than me, and it just seemed like profiling.
Pissed me off big time at a Walmart where they wouldn’t let me leave until I gave them my receipt to check and my son ran off. (He was a runner…we had just eaten at the McDonald’s by the door and I had not put his leash on….). They would not let me go out after my kid. I refused to go back to that one. I asked her to come with me or let me leave my stuff and it was a no go either way. Fortunately, I had an adult friend with me who they did not stop who went after my son before he left with someone or ran into traffic. (He WOULD leave with anyone who paid attention to them…most people don’t want drooling little boys though.)
Thank you. A friend just shared this, it’s getting crazy. Everyone has sex trafficking on the brain & sees it everywhere.
My “favorite” part of her post:
“Toyos describes an incident that happened to her family that day, and how she wants to warn other parents to be careful and take it seriously. She says she had read about this kind of thing before and â€œI always think â€œwow, thatâ€™s so scaryâ€¦ I need to be carefulâ€. But I also always think â€œthat could never happen to meâ€¦But you guys, it did.â€”
So basically – “despite having read that this could happen to me, I thought it wouldn’t – so now I’m telling everyone else” – everyone else, who basically will assume the same thing. You’re telling them it could happen to them, but they’ll assume it won’t, just like you did.
Useless. Useless garbage even if it WERE a legitimate threat.
OMG That website. There’s another post on there about “there are people out there who would seek to abuse our little ones through turning their favorite cartoons into horror shows.”
Despite the fact that the kid apparently loved the horror show in question.
I agree, Diandra has allowed her worthless drivel to be spewed forth all over the internet. This woman has no proof at all that she encountered human traffickers! Her story is she saw men “acting strangely” at IKEA. So what? Maybe they were shoplifting. Maybe they were weird. Maybe they were wandering around thinking, what ugly furniture here…who knows?
And human traffickers are far more likely to traffic people they already know – not kidnap someone in broad daylight, in a store where there are CAMERAS everywhere.
Diandra, bless her heart, must be desperate for attention. Hope she enjoys her little 5 minutes of fame on the internet. It won’t last long. Histrionic personality disorder comes to mind.
Hey! You made snopes! They actually mentioned you and this post!
I made the mistake of trying to reason with this lady’s admirers…..it’s not going well, but I’m finding some perverse joy out of it.
The lady says she responded to Snopes, but they haven’t posted it yet. She almost makes it sound like they’re hiding something.
If that had happened to me exactly as stated, I would be on high alert, too. I doubt I’d assume they wanted to grab my kids, but might assume they had something weird on their minds to do (like grab my purse). I would stay well in public view, start hanging near a larger group, or get help.
@Joshua, well..you know that anyone who questions her story is pro-toddler-trafficking.
And I’m sorry, but it never would have occurred to me in a million years to take my kids to a furniture store to play. Aren’t there special places invented for that, like playgrounds, parks, bedrooms, family rooms, back yards, etc?
That mother is a stupid bitch who has watched too much news (just saying). Newsflash, lady! No one is going to kidnap your kids unless they approach and then immediately try to offer them a ride or something! She sounds like a helicopter parent…
There have been children as young as five and six yrs old that have been trafficked. It is nothing to joke about.
I saw this FB message from this lady last Friday and expressed some polite skepticism. After her supporters told me I was ridiculous, and ridiculed the Snopes article I sent them, I engaged with the actual Diandra a bit. She seems like a perfectly nice person who deluded herself into thinking she was in a dangerous situation when there is very little evidence that is the case. She and the other folks on there seemed supremely unconvinced by my skepticism. She seems to be cultivating a brand, and this will only help her. Reason is hard.
Veronica, and I will say that those kids were trafficked by their parents more than likely. And they were not toddlers.
If this was “happening” like this lady and others are suggesting, we would have Amber Alerts screaming at us all the time. I get one…maybe two a month. 9 times out of 10 it is a non custodial parent. Not some kid taken from a grocery or major chain. Someone takes a kid from Ikea…it would be on the news across the country. How do I know this? Because every ONCE IN A WHILE, and INDIVIDUAL, will take a kid from a Walmart or such. (Maybe once a decade.) And it is all over the news with footage of the person taking the child and such.
THIS IS NOT HAPPENING the way this lady and others are telling us they “think” it is happening. You want to prevent harm to a kid? Make sure that their booster or car seat is installed properly. THAT is a much more likely cause of harm to any kid in the US.
Yeah, note there was not one but TWO doting mamas watching over these little tykes, not to mention that there were surely security cameras all over the place. I’m sure some random guy who happened to unexpectedly cross their path is going to suddenly see that and think, “cha ching, let’s grab ’em!”
You know who’s trafficking those kids? Their mother, who is profiting from putting them on the internet and making up stuff.
I just keep looking at that photo and thinking of when I had two tots and took them everywhere with me … I know people looked at us all the time. And I wasn’t thinking, “are they wanting to steal my kids?” I was thinking, “are my kids annoying the other shoppers? Are we annoying the shop keepers? Where’s the closest bathroom?”
You know what happened today? I was miraculously NOT sex-trafficked! I was also vigilant enough not to be struck by lightning, or mauled by a rabid bear, or exploded by a terrorist with an iPad. Yay me! I’m pretty sure I wasn’t poisoned with polonium by an agent of the former KGB, but I need a couple of days to be sure of that one. I’ll be sure to tell everyone if symptoms develop…
Hilarious! In other news, my daughter was walking the dog around the block the other day, and there were cars driving around the block past her at the same time, and some of those cars were driven by men, and omg I JUST KNOW she was almost trafficked!
And back to the padded cell for me, and a nice little rest â˜ºâ˜º.
I decided to torture myself a little by reading the “safety” part of that lady’s website
It’s one OMG sensational Parents’ Worst Nightmare story after another. All that click bait about “this mom’s kid is dead (or almost died) because of one thing she didn’t even know about!” The whole thing is over and over “OMG OMG you have to be vigilant every single second OMG! Can you believe there are people who take their eyes off their kids while they are sleeping!?”
Makes me wonder if this lady’s kids will ever learn to go to the toilet alone.
She has one article about what “what we’re talking to our kids about after the gorilla tragedy” (Harambe and the 4yo). Guess what Harambe inspired her to talk about? Stranger danger of course! Tricky people! WTH does Harambe have to do with tricky people I don’t know, but there were probably a ton of tricky people standing around just waiting to fondle wandering kids at that zoo, and who’s to say that’s not how the little boy fell into the cage? (I made up that last sentence, but it doesn’t go far afield from the general tone of that site.)
If this were REALLY TRUE that last thing in the world someone would do is PUBLICLY post their name, married name and photos with their kids online. THAT is not being diligent for one’s safety AT ALL
You are an idiot.
Goohergirl–care to elaborate?
Some guy didn’t glance at her kids. He followed her and hovered for well over 30 minutes. If she had been oblivious to that for such an extended period of time, there would be something to worry about.
She didn’t say they were targeted by sex traffickers, she said human traffickers. AKA kidnappers.
She may or may not have actually been a near-victim, but your casual dismissal of her experience is more unnerving to me than would be a daily barrage of “I was almost a victim of “.
Two words to always keep in mind when shopping with your kids: Adam Walsh.
Carolyn, seriously? Was Adam Walsh kidnapped in front of his mother in a furniture store? And how many billions of everyday interactions involving children have gone by since that one extremely sad circumstance?
Omg thank you! I woke up to this IKEA post 3 times on my Facebook feed. It didn’t sound right so I did some digging (about 30 seconds worth) to check it out. I have been thinking EVERYTHING in your post! My kids are not free range kids, but they do sometimes go off and *gasp* play in the neighborhood on their own without me hovering a few steps away! I do let my 9 year old go to the bathroom in the grocery store while I continue to shop without wondering what big bad man is going to take him.
“There have been children as young as five and six yrs old that have been trafficked.”
Yes, there have been. They are trafficked by their parents or mom’s boyfriend or mom’s dealer or mom’s pimp. They are trafficked in their own home or in mom’s crack house or are taken out to be used and then returned home when done. They were never missing children. They were not abducted from their mother in a store filled with people and cameras that is such a convoluted maze that even Superman couldn’t get out of it in under 20 minutes.
I’d be more inclined to believe this lady if the rest of her site and basically her whole career wasn’t “OMG your nose needs to be up your kids’ butt 24/7 or else.”
Also if there were security cameras proving the supposed 30-minute stake-out she describes.
The rest of it, though I’ve never been an Ikea, from the comments and the Snopes article it sounds like people have no choice but to follow each other through the store. Which sounds awful to me, and also a fire hazard, but I hear Ikea is popular so ….
I was thinking the SAME THING. Am I the only one that thought perhaps this was just an undercover security guard making sure she wasn’t stealing?
Or making sure her kids didn’t pee / puke on the furniture!
Last night a fb friend posted that. She is a person who believes a lot of things that are iffy – I think some true and some way out there. Rather than piss her off in front of her friends by posting the Snopes article, I just hid her post. It was sad to see though.
Not long ago, another fb friend posted a video of a little girl falling into the gap while getting off a train / subway. (She was rescued, safe and sound.) Some of the comments were pretty harsh at the mom, who had been walking ahead of the girl and did not notice right away what had happened. A lot of people with kids my age (school age) were like, “this is why my kids always walk in front of me bla bla bla.” I just shake my head and feel sorry for the next generation of parents.
“She may or may not have actually been a near-victim, but your casual dismissal of her experience is more unnerving to me than would be a daily barrage of â€œI was almost a victim of â€œ.”
Carolyn, no one is casually dismissing anything. We are engaging in what’s called “critical thinking”. That’s precisely the opposite of casual.
Allow me to break the argument down for you:
Issue: Were my kids almost kidnapped or not?
1) Some men were following me for an extended period of time.
–Assumption: Following someone only happens if they are interested in harming that person in some way.
2) I felt threatened.
–Assumption: Feelings are valid tools of cognition and, at least in this instance, accurately represent the situation.
That is the entirety of her argument, to the best of my ability to break it down. Please note that there’s no negative connotations to “assumption” in this context; all arguments carry with them assumptions of some sort. Also, I tried to interpret her statements in the most positive manner. Please correct me if I misrepresented anything.
What we are doing is questioning those two arguments. The assumption in #1 is deeply flawed, for a number of reasons–particularly in a store designed to direct customer flow in specific ways. The assumption in #2 is simply flat-out wrong. Feelings are not to be ignored, but we cannot assume that her feelings are correct without a great deal of further knowledge. Further, it’s obvious that this woman is actively seeking out horror stories, which has shifted her expectations to the point where they are well outside those justified by the facts. Which brings up something else conspicuously absent: FACTS.
If this seems to be a casual dismissal to you, I can only conclude that you aren’t familiar with critical thinking. This is actually a rigorous analysis of the claims being made. Sure, most have done so far less formally in this comments section, but that’s actually very normal; it’s abnormal to waste time breaking it down as I have done. I only did it to demonstrate the thought process that appears, from the comments, to be occurring among those you are insulting (and which I did engage in when I interpreted the comments).
And while I generally agree with “trust your instincts,” if you’ve sharpened your instincts to the point of distorting them (gorilla accident => child molestation alert?) then that argument loses its power.
There is a reason why “stand your ground” laws are (a) limited to very specific circumstances and still (b) very controversial. Because “I felt threatened” can and does happen when nobody is actually in danger. And innocent people can end up getting hurt.
It just doesn’t add up.
“I’m really really worried about my kids’ safety…but here, here’s a picture of them, plus information on where we live and where we shop, for all the internet to see.”
Uh huh, sure.
I know someone who was trafficked in the US.
An adult male. He was vulnerable because he’d just arrived in the country and did not speak the language well.
He was told about a cooking job; but, when he got there, they transported him to a city 30 miles north. He was forced to work for weeks without pay, sleeping in a crowded room. He eventually saw an opportunity and escaped. While he never involved the police, others did; the perpetrators were charged and convicted after years of using slave labor.
This is what trafficking looks like in the United States. Not people grabbing pretty white girls. Vulnerable populations being misled about jobs and being taken for hard work in kitchens, factories and the like.
(Hope it’s okay I did not give a real email. My friend still has some issues when it comes to citizenship and I don’t want to provide information that could be linked in any way.)
This story reminds me of the media hysteria over Satanic Daycare centers back in the ’90s. It’s the same tyoe of nonsense!
“He followed her and hovered for well over 30 minutes.”
In a store that is designed so that all traffic flows in the exact same direction! This isn’t Kroger were everyone can have their own shopping pattern. This is a store specifically designed so that every single customer travels through every single show room in the same order. It would have been more weird, for the location, if this man was NOT with her the entire time she was in the store.
“She didnâ€™t say they were targeted by sex traffickers, she said human traffickers. AKA kidnappers.”
Human trafficking and kidnapping are not synonymous!!! These are two completely separate concepts. There is a very small subset of both groups that overlap, but the vast majority of kidnapping is not human trafficking and the vast majority of human trafficking involved no kidnapping.
“Two words to always keep in mind when shopping with your kids: Adam Walsh.”
Adam Walsh was kidnapped from a store 36 years ago. Since then, the number of shopping excursions in which children were present is so high as to not to be able to be quantified with a number in common vernacular use. And none have been kidnapped. While anything can I happen, it does appear that shopping with your children is one of the most incredibly safe things that you will do with them in their life.
To the point that shopping is safe –
I go back to my argument that kids are way better off being in public places (at least part of the time) than not. Especially kids at risk. Because parents and other intimate caregivers are the biggest risks to young children. What goes on behind closed doors, not what happens out in public.
We should be encouraging a NORM that has kids out and about where non-parents see them and interact with them often.
Really. Bring your kids to play on the furniture at IKEA? Lovely. I stare at the brats just to get them to LEAVE!
Our son is a teenager now, but as a little kid he was an UNBELIEVABLE chatterbox. He’d talk to us (parents) without ceasing, he’d talk to relatives and friends, strangers, he’d talk to his toys, he’d talk to himself. My husband and I always joked that anyone who tried to kidnap him would realize in less than 10 minutes that they had picked the wrong kid, so the windowless van would just pull over and leave him on the side of the road, where he would talk his way back to us!
I agree with the poster who mentioned that the woman who is taking her three little kids to IKEA as a “fun outing” can’t possibly be telling the truth.
And lastly, “My daughter was trying to convince us which couch we should get.” Pu-leese! What kind of person is allowing their 4-year-old to be the home style consultant??? A 4-year-old doesn’t even need to be given a choice of what to eat or wear, much less what size and style sofa you’re about to drop a thousand dollars on…..
James Pollock & CrazyCatLady@ Thank you both for your answers! Just a note – my daughter used to be a runner, too. Once she ran from us at the airport when we had been searched by the personnel. Awful! They found her on a plane which was prepared to take off. Thanks to one lady who noticed a strange child, she was back with us – but I was green with fear. Like in your case, the authorities did not care – just kept on searching (God knows what). Needless to say, I felt like a piece of junk.
@ Veronica, who said “There have been children as young as five and six yrs old that have been trafficked. It is nothing to joke about.”
Please provide us with 5, no, how about 3, links from reputable sources reporting 5-6 year olds being snatched in a crowded store with parents and other shoppers standing right there, and then trafficked. Thanks.
(And don’t they have to be found in order to KNOW they were trafficked? If these kids are still missing, how would we know why they were allegedly kidnapped?)
@SKL – Naughty, but I laughed my head off at the people who would make their children walk in front of them getting off subway trains. I am so clumsy, I would probably BE the reason they fell into the gap (pushing them down as I tripped), so I always got off before mine. Such sanctimonious twerps on the net.
How do they get the stolen kids past check out?
Wouldn’t the kids be screaming?
Or would they drug them and drag them out by their heels?
Put them in a pillow case?
Box them and send them next day delivery?
This lady is so full of shit. OMG these guys were staring at me and my family at IKEA. Have you ever been to IKEA? It’s always flooded with people. Not the ideal place for a “human trafficker” to snatch people up. â€œMy kids were about to be trafficked, I just KNOW itâ€. LOL
Once again, we have a case of Social Media Munchausen Syndrome. There’s no denying that human trafficking is a terrible reality, but there’s no way this story is true.
@NY Mom, no, they do that thing where they take the kid(s) to the bathroom, shave their heads/dye their hair/change their clothes (all of which go unnoticed). THEN they drug them so they don’t cry while exiting.
It’s a whole THING.
But she voted for HiLIARy and was having a microaggression and perceived injustice when she saw a man! I fully understand what occurred because there was no safe space for her.
You are annoying.
I believe in having a healthy sense of paranoia, especially with kids. It’s better to be a little paranoid and over cautious in public then to not pay attention at all. However these stories always seem extreme and I agree that nothing actually happened yet we are all being warned to look out for it. When I read her story one thing I thought is why did they just continue to stay by these men? When I see “creepy” people at a store (which could be paranoia who knows), I make my way away from them as fast as possible and get near other people who seem less “creepy” or are employees. I have never had a scare like all these stories that are posted but I have had random anxiety about certain people, and I just get away, make sure they aren’t around anymore, and go about my day. Bottom line is yes keep an eye on your kids out in public, but if you freak out everytime someone looks your way you might as well never go out.
Besides my kids would SCREAM at the top of their lungs if a stranger tried to take them. They won’t even give their uncles a high five because they don’t see them often enough. I know some kids are trusting, but I think most would flip out and that wouldn’t be an easy “take” for the strangers.
Also might I add, that I am more worried about internet “creeps” then real-life creeps, so I don’t get why this lady would then post pics of her kids and her and make it clear which Ikea she goes to. Again, it’s my healthy sense of paranoia (at least I think it’s healthy lol) that keeps me from sharing too much info publicly. In public it’s easier to see who may be watching and report them / complain / get away. In the internet, you have no idea who could be watching. Probably no one for me 😀 But I keep things private and locked down just in case.
Adrenaline is fun. Many, if not most, people like to be under the influence of adrenaline.
Scary moves, theme-park rides, and a bunch of other activities are all intended to provoke an adrenaline reaction. Of course, many of these are also designed so as to provoke an adrenaline reaction without actually producing any actual danger, and most of the rest at least have safeguards to minimize the risk or the consequences.
You get the pounding chest, the hyper-focus… but you lose nearly all of your capacity for deliberation. Adrenaline makes you super-aware of your immediate situation… but also takes away your ability to think about it.
There are some jobs which require embracing danger, and thus adrenaline reactions. Infantry, police officer, firefighter… these jobs require the practitioners to function effectively despite being affected by adrenaline. The way to do this is training. You practice what to do, over and over, while you’re not in danger and therefore able to use your full faculties. Then, when you are in actual danger, and the adrenaline starts to take away your ability to think clearly, the training kicks in. You know what to do because you’ve practiced it so many times you don’t HAVE to think about what to do. This is why there are fire drills, and tornado drills (where appropriate) and earthquake drills (ditto).
What was the point of this comment? Look at the events described. This woman clearly suffered an adrenaline reaction. Her ability to think clearly is absent; all she feels is “these people are a threat to me and my children” despite the fact that objectively, there’s no threat described. In an adrenaline-soaked brain, however, there’s no stepping back to examine things objectively, there’s the sense “danger” and the command “do something RIGHT NOW”. Look at all the rational responses available if a person’s children are actually in danger… you can split up…I’ll stay here with the kids, you go find an employee… or use a cell phone to call for help. You can ask other strangers around you, because… surprise! If someone tries to steal your kids, everyone else is on your side. There’s rounding up the kids and making a beeline for someplace safe. But all of these require clear thinking, and none of them is what happened.
Fortunately, it seems this time it was case of a false positive… mom started tripping on adrenaline even though there was no real threat. No foul, no harm. But had this been a case involving actual criminals, the response offered would have been grossly inadequate and likely ineffective.
OK, I’ve never been to Ikea and never will (thank goodness my kids are safe lol), so someone tell me, is taking your kids to Ikea to play on the furniture really a thing?
“OK, Iâ€™ve never been to Ikea and never will (thank goodness my kids are safe lol), so someone tell me, is taking your kids to Ikea to play on the furniture really a thing?”
Never have been either, but in general, no, this isn’t a thing in my experience. We took our kids with us when we went shopping for furniture, and they acted like you’d expect little kids to act–but we were there to buy something, and made an effort to keep them within the bounds of normal human behavior! Taking kids to play on furniture in a store seems moronic in a world where there are ample fast food places with indoor play places.
I read this online, and thought it was stupid when I read it. Thanks for highlighting the ridiculousness of this. Because someone is looking at you doesn’t mean that you’re about to be trafficked. Craziness, over reaction. How on earth will these children ever learn to put things in any sort of reasonable perspective?
“Taking kids to play on furniture in a store seems moronic in a world where there are ample fast food places with indoor play places.”
Are you INSANE!!!!!? Fast-food places with indoor play places are where the sex-traffickers go to eat. If you turn your attention to your fries for just a split-second they’ll make off of your child and the next thing you know, they’re in the bathroom with different-colored hair!!!
I know it’s true because I heard it on the radio once, so don’t bother trying to tell me it’s fake.
Also, I think (religious group you don’t like) might be involved, and also (political group you don’t like.) They’re all in on it! Who do you think is down in the basement of every fast-food place in America?
I also heard that vaccination causes sex-trafficking.