SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA (CBS4) – A mom took to Facebook to share an account of what she believes was an run-in with human traffickers.
Diandra Toyos was shopping in IKEA with her mom and two of her kids, the eldest of whom is a year-and-a-half-old.
“We were in the couch section and the kids were enjoying climbing on each couch and trying them out,” Toyos wrote in the post. “After a few minutes, I noticed a well dressed, middle aged man circling the area, getting closer to me and the kids.”
He did more than circle, though.
“At one point he came right up to me and the boys, and instinctively I put myself between he and my mobile son. I had a bad feeling.”
As the family continued to shop, wandering into other display rooms, keeping an eye on the children, Toyos says that the man continued to follow them. And another joined.
“He wasn’t looking at us, but was walking the same circling pattern around us as the first man. My mom and I decided to sit down and wait for them to move on. We had a gut feeling something was going on, but we hoped we were wrong and they would move on.”
But the men didn’t, Toyos says. “They sat the whole time we sat, and stood up right as we got up.”
This went on for more than 30 minutes. It wasn’t until the family talked with an employee that they were able to lose the men, reporting them to security after they made it through the maze of display rooms.
In hindsight, she wishes, she would have taken pictures of the men.
Instead, she closes with a message to other parents:
“Please PLEASE be aware when you’re out with your children. It’s not the time to be texting or facebooking or chatting on the phone. When you’re in a public place with your kids, please be aware and present so that you don’t become a victim. Had I not been paying attention that day …or had I let my kids roam and play while I checked my phone…I may have lost one.”
Her message has been shared almost 100,000 times since it was posted Thursday.