A Christian mother of four recently talked about her run-in with people at a local store whom she suspects were child sex traffickers. Her efforts to raise awareness of traffickers led her to write a book and create a website to empower parents by giving them the information they need.
Amanda Florczykowski of Longview, Texas, was recently a featured guest on Abby Johnson's podcast Politely Rude to talk about the 2016 incident.
Florczykowski told Johnson how she and her two-year-old daughter and her then-infant son were shopping at the local Walmart when an unknown man approached the trio and commented on how cute her children were.
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Thinking nothing about the stranger's words, she and her children went to stand in the checkout line. While they were in line, she noticed the same man who had spoken to her was looking at her and her children. That's also when another stranger approached her, but this time, it was a woman.
"Her first words are, 'How old is your daughter? She's so cute. How old is your daughter?' And she wants to talk about my daughter," Florczykowski recalled. "She asked me again, like 10 seconds later, 'OK, she's so cute. How old is your daughter?'"
Then the woman turned to speak in another language to the man standing behind her.
"He is like a stone statue, facing the opposite direction, never looks at my kiddos," she said. "She is communicating with him in a different language over her shoulder about my kids. And she asked me a third time, 'How old is your daughter?'"
Florczykowski told Johnson that her parental gut instinct "started to rise up. I'm thinking to myself, this is really bizarre that she's asked me for a third time," she said. "It finally dawns on me that she's interpreting what I'm saying. It still gives me goosebumps. I'm having an unwanted conversation with this man about my young daughter through this woman."
Instinctively, Florczykowski picked up her daughter as the woman moved closer. The lady even put her hand on the grocery cart.
"Even a security camera wouldn't have picked up that this was like a scary, creepy couple. I mean, they were really savvy, really smooth," she recalled. "And I thought, 'This is bizarre she's got her hand on my cart. She's asking about my kiddo.'"
Then Florczykowski said the woman asked to hold her daughter. After she turned down the request, the woman quickly grabbed the child's wrists and started to walk out of the store, telling the little girl, "Say bye to mommy."
"She's not even making eye contact with me at this point. She's just looking at my daughter and she takes her little wrists," Florczykowski recalled. "I lunged forward, grabbing my child. It's like slow motion. At that same time, the couple is exiting the store. I finally have my daughter back. I'm like slumped over the register. My knees are shaking."
Responding to the scene that just took place right in front of her, the cashier asked Florczykowski if she was OK.
"No. I'm not. I do not know what just happened, but I think ... my child was just potentially abducted by a sex trafficking ring," she answered.
That's when she observed a third man with tattoos staring at her.
"He looked like pure evil. He's terrifying. And when I said the word 'child sex trafficking,' he caught my eye. He did not want me to say anything else. His look was, 'If you don't shut up, I'll make you shut up,'" she told the podcast audience.
After arriving at home, Florczykowski began doing her own online investigation into sex trafficking. She said she posted her experience to Facebook, and the post went viral.
That's when she said to herself that no one else was going to be a victim, and she was going to do something about it.
In response, Florczykowski wrote a book titled Unraveled: Mothering Fiercely in a World Full of Fears, and also launched a website called Vigilant Families to give parents the information they need about human traffickers.
"Vigilant Families is the first-ever online anti-child trafficking training for parents & kids. Because, vigilant means invulnerable," the website reads.
Florczykowski's blog can be found at AmandaFlo.com.