Child abduction and its relationship to human trafficking is something that no one likes to imagine as ever happening to their their child. Unfortunately, this major issue is just as rampant in the United States as it is around the globe.

In fact, the National Human Trafficking Resource Center claims that hundreds of thousands of American children and young adults are kidnapped into the dark world of human trafficking each year.

Still, no one thinks it can happen to them. One Texas woman discovered this firsthand after she and her two-year-old experienced a terrifying encounter at the grocery store…

 Amanda Florczykowski is a mother of four from Longview, Texas. One day, she was grocery shopping with her two-year-old daughter when she noticed a couple eyeing her child. It seemed a little odd, but she thought nothing more of it… that is, until she reached the checkout line.

mom1Aaron Florczykowski / Facebook

Somehow, she ended up directly behind the couple in line, who took an excessive interest in her baby. The woman inched closer while repeatedly asking about the baby’s age and commenting on her adorable looks. Amanda first chalked up the strange behavior to a language barrier—she later described the couple as of “East Indian descent”—but became suspicious once the woman insisted on holding her daughter.

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Amanda said that she felt uncomfortable with the woman holding her baby, but the little girl—who was already very close to the stranger—reached out and it was too late to stop what happened next. The woman picked up the two-year-old and began backing away. Immediately, Amanda panicked.

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That’s when she heard the woman whisper four chilling words: “Say bye to Mommy.” It was so shocking and terrifying that Amanda went into protective mode, and quickly snatched her daughter away.
mom7Aaron Florczykowski / Facebook

The couple left, but the incident didn’t end there. Amanda, still shaken with fear, noticed that another man in a closed checkout line was staring at her intensely. He didn’t have any groceries with him, and he seemed to be solely focused on her every move.

mom4Edgar Zuniga Jr. / Flickr

Amanda wrote in a Facebook post about the incident: “His eyes did not leave my every move. I confidently matched his stare to show I was aware of his presence. I loudly conversed with the cashier about their security staff and the odd couple that seemed predatory.”

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Amanda loaded her groceries onto the belt and stayed aware of the man who was staring her down. She wrote, “He faced the opposite direction but was looking over his shoulder at me: glaring would be an understatement.”

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Amanda was grateful to leave the store with her daughter safely in her arms. She immediately began doing some research about what she’d experienced, and all signs pointed directly to a horrifying conclusion: sex trafficking.

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Her research informed her that abductors often work in groups and position themselves throughout stores like the one she went to that day. The couple checked out with a mere two items, which they could have easily abandoned at the register.

mom9Roger / Flickr

Additionally, Amanda found out that her area was just one of many across Texas that reported high activity for child abductions. She decided to contact her local police department and tell them the whole story.

mom3Aaron Florczykowski / Facebook

After reviewing her statement, the police department posted on Facebook regarding Amanda’s experience. They warned locals to remain vigilant, though it was an isolated incident and there was no cause for alarm. After all, there was no way to prove if the strangers were, indeed, part of a sex trafficking ring.

mom2Aaron Florczykowski / Facebook

The police statement read, “Be watchful over the contact [children] have with others. Teach your children about appropriate relationships and to avoid strangers. In addition, we would like to remind citizens to report any suspicious activity immediately.”

mom6Amanda Cropsey Florczykowski / Facebook

Police even reviewed CCTV footage of Amanda’s interaction at the grocery store. They claimed it was not consistent with other incidents of sex trafficking abduction and that even though they sympathized with Amanda, other parents have nothing to fear.

mom16Longview Police Department / Facebook

But Amanda claimed her research showed otherwise. According to her, interstate I-20 is a common channel for sex traffickers to abduct children, and the highway runs right along Longview. The National Human Trafficking Resource Center says that Texas is the second biggest sex-trafficking state in America.

mom13Shena Tschofen / Flickr

It should be reiterated that Amanda’s situation, albeit suspicious, never presented any specific evidence to prove that the incident was a definite attempt to abduct her daughter for purposes of human trafficking.

mom8Amanda Cropsey Florczykowski / Facebook

Amanda was interviewed about the incident by local news outlets. She explained that, even though the police denied it, the similarities between her story and others were similar. She added that she had a right to be concerned, as would any parent in that situation.

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She also received support online. Her post generated more than 169,000 shares and more than 100 comments from those who claimed to have experienced similar incidents, as well as those who wanted to show their support and sympathy.

mom18Amanda Cropsey Florczykowski / Facebook

Whether Amanda’s story is legitimate doesn’t excuse the fact that sex trafficking affects 20 million victims worldwide. And according to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center, 5,551 American cases of abduction have already been reported in 2017 alone.

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Even though Amanda’s daughter was only two years old, she could have been taken away from her mother and placed in a prostitution ring or raised as a sex slave. Male children and adults are just as susceptible to abduction, even though females are more commonly targeted.

mom14East Texas Matters /

If Amanda hadn’t been so vigilant in the moment, she may have lost her daughter forever. It’s important for anyone with children to pay close attention to Amanda’s experience, as sex trafficking is an underground phenomenon that could unexpectedly snatch anyone.

mom17Amanda Cropsey Florczykowski / Facebook

Amanda’s account is completely terrifying. Whether her encounter was legitimate—or simply a case of paranoia—remains to be seen, especially since the couple in question was never questioned. Thankfully, her daughter is safe and sound!

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