Police in Rochester, Minnesota, assessed that an encounter with three Middle-Eastern men at Silver Lake Park was an attempted human trafficking incident. See Example( s )

Collected via e-mail, July 2015

This story needs to go viral. It is a little long but what this mother experienced here in Rochester needs to get out to the public fast so it does not happen to anyone else. Please share. Im going to share the scariest moment of my life to spread awareness that this is in our community and in our lives. This happened on July 4th 2016 Silver Lake Park In Rochester, MN at the fire work show. My family and I attended the fire work show with one of my closest friends and her children. We walked along the path next to the graveyard and river to get there and found a spot right next to the stage, immediately my youngest, their dad myself and 2 others went to get some concessions for the show. I left my daughter Amora with my friend and her other 2 kids. I got a text from her saying "Amora wants mom and dad". We returned and the show had already started. Took our seats and watched the show. After the finale a stage lit up and a young man started singing catchy songs- this immediately caught all of our attentions and we were like lets go! Our boyfriends didn't feel the same and wanted to walk home before the crowds started pouring out. We separated and headed to the stage with our total 5 children to join the fun. Our kids were LOVING the show, dancing, singing , jumping with joy so i took out my phone to record the fun. As i was recording i put my phone down because i noticed out of 300+ people there was ONE man who stuck out. He was a 40-50 year old Arab man who was standing completely still, right behind my daughter. He looked blank in every way possible. He noticed that i had noticed him and we locked eyes, i pulled my 4 year old away from him and she was upset that i had taken her view of the stage away so she started dancing again. Then he was right behind her again, but this time he pulled out his phone and took her picture, i launched at him and he started to walk away but as he walked away from me he grabbed Amora's head to see if she would willingly come with him. NO WAY i ran after this man. I screamed for him and he pretended not to hear me, i finally touched him and he turned around. I yelled at him and tried to take his phone he replied " sorry she is just so beautiful with a disgusting SMIRK on his face, then out of the dark path way two older men ( also middle eastern ) emerged and stood behind him firmly. I screamed at him for touching my daughter and demanded the phone back, i told him i was calling the cops he said "OO so scary" in a mocking tone. I then got furious and said their dad was going to beat the crap out of them, he responded with " he is not here though" immediately i became panicked they had been watching us, i was thinking there was more of them in the group and turned around to get my babies. After this incident we got the hell out of there. My friend and i took our babies and got home, we then talked about what had happened. I found it SO odd that she texted me "Amora wants her mom and Dad" she had sent me that text because the older 2 arab men that appeared from the dark path had been sitting behind us the entire show. With their videos out and acting in strange matter that made her feel extremely uncomfortable with their pacing and their watching . They had watched our men walk away and sent the 3rd man into the crowd with us. It was so busy and noisy no one even noticed me screaming at this man, not one single person. And believe me i was SCREAMING at him trying to cause a scene. I called the police to report what happened because i have been a MESS since that night and i cannot get myself together mentally. The police and i went over the entire story and they confirmed it was 100% a kidnapping attempt, these men sell little girls into sex trafficking. I cannot explain how hard this is to even type for me but i hope it helps others. This IS REAL. This happened where i have been watching fire works for 24 years in "small rochester" They go to big events so they go unnoticed They target women without men and force them into situations where they are separated They try to make a bond with your child to lure them willingly without a scene if possible. They work in groups of 3 or more They take your children and sell them into sex trafficking. No i am not okay, and i wont be for a very long time. Had i not noticed what was going on- my baby girl would be gone forever. I cant stomach that one bit- i have been getting help and come home a giant mess every single day and have almost now called into work all week due to have anxiety. Every time i look at her i cry. It was bath night last night and i crawled in the bath with her and cried and she is very confused what is wrong with me. This post i hope is shared by many and taken very seriously. LOOK FOR THE SIGNS, DONT FEEL LIKE YOU ARE OVER REACTING. WATCH YOUR CHILDREN LIKE A HAWK and dont ever for a second let your guard down."



In July 2016, the above-reproduced warning about an attempted abduction at Silver Lake Park in Rochester, Minnesota, began circulating via Facebook. According to that post, an unidentified woman encountered, and narrowly avoided an abduction attempt made by, three Middle Eastern men during a 4 July 2016 fireworks event at the park. Near the end of the post, the original poster stated that she reported the incident to police who had determined the incident was unquestionably a brush with human traffickers:

The police and i went over the entire story and they confirmed it was 100% a kidnapping attempt, these men sell little girls into sex trafficking. I cannot explain how hard this is to even type for me but i hope it helps others. This IS REAL. This happened where i have been watching fire works for 24 years in “small rochester”

The story featured elements of recent and similar tale out of Louisiana, and items circulating in perpetuity about human traffickers at big box stores and other highly populated areas. During the summer of 2015, myriad claims of that nature went viral on Facebook, despite the fact such stories rarely (if ever) bore out as true: In May 2015, a woman posted a similar account about an incident in an Oklahoma Hobby Lobby store; by June 2015, Twitter users openly fretted over sex slavery rings targeting college kids during summer job interviews; and later that same month a long-circulating theme park abduction urban legend resurfaced. Those rumors appeared to breed a harrowing yet false account of purported teenaged abductors (armed with heroin-filled syringes) at a Denton, Texas, Dillards department store, a tale from a woman who claimed she narrowly avoided a human trafficking ring using gift bags as bait in the parking lot of a Hickory, North Carolina, Walmart store, and claims that Target stores in Tampa, Longview (Texas), and Houston were sex trafficking scouting sites. All the tales proved to be vastly overstated, as was a woman’s claim about a similar encounter at a Michigan Kroger store.

We contacted the Olmsted County Sheriff’s Department to ask whether such a report had been lodged, and the individual with whom we spoke was well aware of the rumors. According to that officer, no complaints of that nature had been reported on or around 4 July 2016 despite the poster’s assertion that she spoke with police. While the Facebook message claimed law enforcement agents were “100 percent” certain the “Middle Eastern” men were engaged in human trafficking activity, the sheriff’s department said they found no paperwork trail or record documenting that claims. Moreover, the officer with whom we spoke noted that the manner in which the incident was described was inconsistent with how human trafficking outfits operate, typically employing grooming and lengthy interactions with their victims rather than quick snatches by strangers.

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