An Uber driver in California became a hero to a 16-year-old girl, saving her from a sex trafficking ring after picking up the teen and two women whom he overheard talking.
Keith Avila picked up the passengers Monday during his shift in Sacramento. As he was driving them to a Holiday Inn in nearby Elk Grove, the women chatted openly about bringing the girl to a “John” and the money they would be getting for it, NBC News reported.
“Check for guns. Get the money before you start touching up on the guy,” a woman was saying, Avila explained while describing the harrowing experience on Facebook Live.
After dropping them off at the hotel, Avila immediately called the police and was able to give them the hotel room number after overhearing it. He waited for officers to arrive and then started streaming live to Facebook, posting, “I just caught a group Child Sex Trafficking ring!!! No joke!!!” The post had more than 206,000 views by Friday afternoon.
Destiny Pettway, 25, and Maria Westley, 31, were charged with pimping and threatening a minor, NBC reported. Disney Vang, 20, was also arrested on suspicion of unlawful sexual activity with the girl. The bail for the women was set at $500,000.
Police described the girl Avila had saved as a runaway, NBC said. She was put in an “alternative housing situation” while officials located her parents or guardians.
Avila, 34, a first-generation Mexican-American and married father of a 6-year-old boy, thought his worst experience as an Uber driver would be dealing with drunken passengers.
“All my life, I thought about people throwing up in the car as the worst scenario,” he told NBC Latino. The hero was later congratulated by a member of the Uber Safety Team for his quick thinking.
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