Mother's scary shopping experience causes concerns over human trafficking

Mother's Frightening Incident While Shopping Inspires Viral Post Over Human Trafficking

EDMOND, Okla. - A metro mom's post is going viral, but it's just the latest in a series of posts prompting fear of children being kidnapped and forced into human trafficking.

The woman had a frightening incident at an Edmond Target.

She said a little girl tried to lure her daughter away first by asking for candy and then by offering her gum.

Law enforcement officials believe the woman is telling the truth, and they don't deny her fear is real, however they said the person in question was likely not trying to kidnap her child.

"There was this little girl that was following us, and she kept asking my daughter for candy," said Amanda Kalidy, a metro mother. "I was asking her where her mom was."

But, the little girl wouldn't answer.

Kalidy then noticed what she called a "strange" man nearby who she said seemed to be instructing the little girl.

She notified management, but the little girl and the man quickly left the store.

"The manager of the store was telling me what they do is they target places like Target," Kalidy said.

Her fear is that the strange encounter was an attempt to kidnap her daughter and force her into an underground world.

"Human trafficking is a reality in Oklahoma," said Michael Snowden with the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics Human Trafficking Division.

Snowden said stories like this are based on real fears, however the concern has no basis.

"We don't generally see people snatching children from their parents or women being abducted from a retail store of some sort," Snowden said. "Human trafficking is much more subtle than that."

He said victims are generally coerced over time, often by someone they know or someone they met online.

"These girls are recruited. They're promised the world and love and those things that are maybe lacking in their lives," Snowden said.

Snowden said, while posts like Amanda's are based on real incidents, real fears, the so-called suspects likely weren't trying to kidnap anyone.

"We would never belittle someone's fear, okay, but diversion is really a frequent tactic when I'm trying to steal your purse, get your car keys," Snowden said.

For Amanda, it's been a wake up call to not let her guard down.

"It's very scary, and you have to stay alert," she said.

Snowden said there are no cases he is aware of in Oklahoma where a child or a mother has been kidnapped from a retail store and forced into human trafficking.

We talked with officials at Target.

They told us they were not aware of the case in question.

They said they do everything they can to ensure their customers are safe in their store.

Snowden said, if a child were to be abducted from anywhere in Oklahoma, an Amber Alert would be issued, and authorities across the state would immediately begin searching for the child.

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Mother's scary shopping experience causes concerns over human trafficking
SHAMLAPUR, BANGLADESH - JULY 4: A photograph of Rohingya trafficking victim Mohammad Aiaz is seen July 4, 2015 in Shamlapur, Bangladesh. On March 5, 2015 Aiaz met a man who promised to take him to a good job in Malaysia for free. He left Bangladesh with 13 other Rohingya. A few days after that his mother, Lila Begum, got a phone call from her son saying he was on the ship and that she needed to pay a man in Teknaf 200,000 taka ($2,570) or he would be killed. She managed to pay 175,000 but she has not heard from her son since. In the past months thousands of Rohingya have landed on the shores of Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, many of them by way of Bangladesh. The Rohingya pay up to $2,000 to traffickers, and they sail out from Bangladesh's southern coastline on fishing boats to meet larger ships in the deep sea that will take them to Malaysia. UNHCR estimates that there are more than 300,000 Rohingya living in Bangladesh. (Photo by Shazia Rahman/Getty Images)
An armed Malaysian policeman checks a driver's documentations a day after the government announced the discovery of camps and graves, the first such sites found in Malaysia since a regional human-trafficking crisis erupted earlier this month, near Malaysia-Thailand borders in Wang Kelian on May 25, 2015. A total of 139 grave sites and 28 human-trafficking camps have been found in a remote northern Malaysian border region, the country's top police official told reporters. AFP PHOTO / MOHD RASFAN (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
A journalist takes photo of 24 alleged human traffickers' pictures displayed on a board, released by Italian police during a press conference in Palermo on April 20, 2015. AFP PHOTO / MARCELLO PATERNOSTRO (Photo credit should read MARCELLO PATERNOSTRO/AFP/Getty Images)
Sex workers and sympathizers demonstrate on April 9, 2015 against the closure of window brothels by the municipality in the red light district in Amsterdam. With Project 1012, the Amsterdam wants to close window prostitution to prevent crime, human trafficking and degradation. AFP PHOTO / ANP / ROBIN VAN LONKHUIJSEN - netherlands out - (Photo credit should read ROBIN VAN LONKHUIJSEN/AFP/Getty Images)
Ivanka Trump speaks during a meeting on action to end modern slavery and human trafficking on the sidelines of the 72nd United Nations General Assembly at U.N. Headquarters in Manhattan, New York, U.S., September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
ATHENS, ATTIKI, GREECE - 2017/10/14: Greek human right activists take part in the 2017 Walk for Freedom event raising awareness about Human Trafficking. (Photo by George Panagakis/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
ATHENS, ATTIKI, GREECE - 2017/10/14: Greek human right activists take part in the 2017 Walk for Freedom event raising awareness about Human Trafficking. (Photo by George Panagakis/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
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