Police say a suspicious Uber driver in Oak Park, California, stopped a case of child sex trafficking after he gave a ride to two women accused of pimping out a 16-year-old runaway.
On Monday, Keith Avila picked up the girl and two women, identified by police as Destiny Pettway, 25, and Maria Westley, 31, for a 13-minute trip to a Holiday Inn Express in Elk Grove. During the ride, the conversation between the women and the girl, as well as her attire, alarmed him. Avila told KCRA the girl looked to be 12, and was dressed in a "very short skirt" that struck him as "odd." The women engaged in conversation with the girl, telling her that once she got to the hotel, she would meet a man that she should "pat down" for weapons. They also said she had to "get the donation" before she started to touch him, Avila said.
After dropping his passengers off, Avila, who has only been an Uber driver for a month, drove out of sight of the hotel, and called police, who quickly arrived and arrested Pettway, Westley, and Disney Vang, 20, the man who allegedly was waiting at the hotel. The woman are both in a Sacramento County Jail on pimping related charges, and Vang was released Tuesday on bail. Beth Hassett, CEO of WEAVE, an organization that works with domestic violence and sexual abuse survivors in Sacramento County, told KCRA this was "a perfect example of the community coming together and recognizing that something is not right." She also explained that women are often used to recruit young girls because they have an easier time establishing trust, and traffickers look for runaways, children in foster care, and those that look vulnerable, in order to exploit them.