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 “get the kids out of the house.” But Toyos never could have imagined that their lighthearted shopping trip was about to take a sinister turn. They were being targeted for human trafficking.
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. She says she had read about this kind of thing before and “I always think “wow, that’s so scary… I need to be careful”. But I also always think “that could never happen to me…But you guys, it did.”
When you least expect it — human trafficking predators at IKEA
What happened was this: while the Toyos family was innocently testing out couches, two men began obviously following them. Toyos feels sure they were being targeted by sex traffickers. She says:
“My daughter was trying to convince us which couch we should get. My older son was happily walking from couch to couch, flopping himself on each one. My baby boy was snuggled into the sling, sound asleep. After a few minutes, I noticed a well dressed, middle aged man circling the area, getting closer to me and the kids. 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. He continued to circle the area, staring at the kids. He occasionally picked something up, pretending to look at it but looking right over at us instead. My mom noticed as well and mentioned that we needed to keep an eye on him. We moved on… and so did he. Closely. My son wandered into one of the little display rooms across from the couches and I followed him closely with my baby strapped to me. My mom said she watched as the older man dropped what he was doing and quickly and closely followed us into the area. At the same time, she noticed another man dressed more casually and in his 20s. 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.”