The incident took place at Dixon Charity Shop, the shop that mother Samantha Porto owns. The question was directed at her 8-year-old daughter.
CBS 13 reported that 29-year-old Matthew Allen Brauer, who Dixon police believed to be homeless, walked up to the door of the shop, where Porto said her daughter was sitting beside two of her employees and asked if they were the “little white girl kidnapping crew?”
He then allegedly asked, “How much for the little girl?”
“I ran after him and gave him a few choice words and let him know ‘don’t come back near my daughter or my store,’” Porto said on Tuesday, according to CBS 13.
The creepy exchange was caught on the store’s surveillance video, and Porto even took a picture of Brauer as she went to confront him. Police arrested the man, and he is now facing charges of misdemeanor nuisance.
Porto also told CBS 13 Dixon police only decided to take action after they found Brauer allegedly did the same thing to a different child that night.
Newsweek reached out to Dixon Police Department for further comment but has yet to receive a response.
Whether or not Bauer’s overarching goal would have been to sell the children is unknown, but it is a theory that would not be so far off. The state of California DOJ Attorney General website writes that according to the trafficking hotline, California is one of the largest sites of human trafficking in the United States.
In 2018, 1,656 cases of human trafficking were reported in California, according to the Attorney General’s site.
But there are plans implemented to fight it in the state. In January, 33 children were recovered in an anti-trafficking operation known as “Operation Lost Angels.”
“The FBI considers human trafficking modern day slavery and the minors engaged in commercial sex trafficking are considered victims,” Kristi Johnson, assistant director in charge of the Los Angeles field office, told CNN. “While this operation surged resources over a limited period of time with great success, the FBI and our partners investigate child sex trafficking every day of the year and around the clock.”
And just a few weeks ago, California attorney general Rob Bonta announced the state has formally launched new regional Human Trafficking and Sexual Predator Apprehension Teams that have already been useful in supporting law enforcement to dismantle the criminal exploitation of children.
Newsweek also reached out to the FBI Sacramento office for additional comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.