Mom’s Warning After Being Followed at IKEA: ‘We Were Targets’ of Human Trafficking

But the men did NOT move on, they stuck to the Toyos family like glue. Diandra goes on:

“So we sat in one of the little display rooms. For close to 30 minutes. And they sat too. They sat down on one of the couches on the display floor that faced us. That was when we knew our gut feeling was right and something was off. They sat the whole time we sat, and stood up right as we got up. We continued on and my mom turned around and realized the two men had moved and were sitting only one couch away from each other, still facing our direction. The older man was still watching us. She made eye contact… very clearly letting them know that we saw them. And we moved on. We managed to lose them at that point. (We talked with an employee, circled back and used the bathroom and went out into a different section). But still kept the kids right with us the whole time. I kept the baby in the sling which kept my hands free and my eyes too. I didn’t have to keep an eye on the stroller AND two kids… I just had to watch my older ones. When we got through the maze of IKEA, we reported what happened to security.”

Finally free of the men after the better part of an hour, Toyos contacted IKEA security. Looking back at her experience in hindsight, she has a few things she wants to point out to parents. She says the men weren’t shopping, they weren’t waiting for anyone (like a wife or girlfriend who was shopping in another section of the store), that they were dressed very nicely, and perhaps most importantly, “the area they were hanging around had an exit right by it. IKEA is a massive confusing maze of a store. But they could have run out that exit with my child and handed them off to someone waiting outside and been gone before I could find them.”

Toyos says she is “almost sure that we were the targets of human trafficking,” and the big big lesson she wants parents to take away from her terrifying experience is this: “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. The thought just makes me completely ill. (Especially because I’ve been guilty of this!) Trust your gut. It’s there for a reason.”

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Read this next: A Pediatrician Just Laid Out How to Protect Your Child From Sexual Abuse—And She’s Begging You to Listen


Jenny Rapson
Jenny is a follower of Christ, a wife and mom of three from Ohio and a freelance writer and editor.

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