***Disclaimer: Mom’s trafficking claims have not been validated by police. However her message is still one that everyone should take seriously: Always be aware of your surroundings.***
While shopping at her local Ross this past weekend, a woman named Nicolette experienced an “unbelievable encounter” with three men who she believes were exhibiting “sex trafficking behavior.” After her trip to the store turned into a scary close call, the young woman from Highlands Ranch, Colorado, has an important message for moms, dads, teens and young adults everywhere to be aware of your surroundings.
As she detailed in a Facebook post on Saturday, one of three men entered the store about the same time as she did. Within just a few minutes it was clear that Nicolette had become a target.
“Long story short the heavy set man walked into Ross the same time I did, I only remember this because internally I chuckled at his man purse. He followed me around the store a little too close for my liking, so I made a point to keep my kids in the cart and my purse on me…he seemed to be there almost every time I looked up or at least looking in my direction.”
When it came time to checkout, Nicolette says she got in line, and noticed the man had been at the front of the store. Then he got in line behind her.
Becoming more and more aware of her surroundings, the seven-months pregnant mother of two took notice as the man began texting someone. Seconds later, another man appeared at the front of the store near the exit doors.
“I got a mom instinct feeling and audibly said ‘oh we forgot to get you something’ to my son and I walked out of line. So did the heavy set man. He waited next to the check out and all of the sudden his friend was right next to me.”
She did a little loop around the store, then went back to the line where both the heavy-set man and his friend got in line behind her again.
That’s when things went from creepy to down-right scary.
“Out of no where a third man in red shows up. At this point my senses are ON permanently as I looked in his cart and only saw weird items like teen girls clothes, women’s shoes, kids clothes. I got away from the line a third time and so did they.”
They were keeping a close eye on her, and making it difficult for Nicolette to report her suspicions, so she texted in some reinforcements.
“I finally decided to have a friend come up to the store as she lived across the road basically, and I also wrote out a message on my phone to the cashier that something was not right. I got BACK in line and red shirt man got behind me with the original guy’s cart, while the other two split. One was trying to make change at the register while I was checking out, the other was at the entrance texting.
“I shoved my phone to the cashier, who bless her heart, had already noticed this behavior. I asked her to please ‘scan my coupon’ and she read my note and notified the other cashiers and security/other employees that were free.”
But it didn’t stop there. After Nicolette finished her transaction, the man who was making change decided he no longer needed it, and left the store right behind her.
“The employees walked out with me and as soon as we went out the doors the three men followed behind. As soon as the creepy feeling became too much I turned around and said I forgot my phone inside to the cashier and security guy. To no surprise, the three men turned around and walked back to the entrance and waited…picked up their phone to talk and waved at a black SUV that was coming that turned around. They started walking in that direction but didn’t leave.”
To her relief, Nicolette’s friend showed up. They called the police and within 10 minutes the three men were being questioned by authorities.
After running their passports, the men told police they were on a business trip from Egypt—a story that Nicolette isn’t buying after seeing the little girls’ and women’s clothing in their carts.
The cops kept all three men safely away from Nicolette as she and her friend made their way to their cars and out of the parking lot.
“When we pulled out they were creepy smiling and low-key waved to me. My friend followed behind to make sure no one in that car pulled out behind me nor anyone else.”
Nicolette writes that while she can’t say what their true intentions were, she has plenty of evidence to believe that the men were likely part of some trafficking scheme:
“I have 2 little kids and I am a young [twenty-something, who] noticeably [has] a baby bump, 7 months along. And by the weird [stuff] they kept throwing in the cart I’m not too shy to say this is sex trafficking behavior at its best. Please keep your kids close and secure in the store, and be aware: Keep your mom senses up.”
Since posting her warning on Saturday afternoon, more than 38,000 people have shared her scary encounter, in hopes of spreading awareness both around the area and nationwide.
In an update to the original post, Nicolette said she received messages from at least three other women reporting similar behavior in the exact same men nearby. An Uber driver who saw the post also reached out to tell her that he’d picked these men up from a hotel nearby and they struck him as very creepy like something was “off.”
Thankfully, Nicolette was able to use her quick thinking to safely get out of what she felt to be a scary situation.
Sex trafficking isn’t just happening in some far away land. It’s happening here at home—in our shopping malls and backyards. Be able to recognize the warning signs of a trafficking situation, and let Nicolette’s experience serve as a reminder to always be aware of your surroundings.
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