Uber driver Keith Avila is being credited for rescuing a 16-year-old girl from the depths of sex trafficking. The teen girl was later identified as a runaway who had been reported missing in Sacramento County, California, a short while ago.
In Elk Grove, Calif., Avila provided a lift for the young woman and two female companions, however, the Uber operator quickly discovered her companions weren’t friends, just pimps.
While the three women rode in Avila’s vehicle, he overheard the older women pass along disturbing instructions to the teen that immediately frightened him, and he knew he couldn’t just walk away without helping the imperiled teen. “That wasn’t even an option,” he said.
“They started like talking, like saying everything that was going on. Like what they’re doing, child sex trafficking,” Avila said in an interview with ABC13.
Avila brought them to a Holiday Inn, where the younger passenger would be sent to allegedly solicit sex.
After Avila dropped them off at the hotel, he called the police, who he says arrived quickly to the scene, according to ABC13.
“They do not play. Not when you’re doing child sex trafficking,” Avila said.
The two older women, Destiny Pettway and Maria Westly were then arrested on various charges of pimping and pandering. The john, a man identified as “Disney Vang” was arrested for sex with a minor.
Stating why he intervened, Avila in his interview said the victim was obviously just a kid: “I looked at her in the eyes. She had this face of innocence, and like insecure,” he said.
The conversation inside Avila’s car included Pettway and Westly telling the teenager to first ensure the johns don’t have no weapons.
“‘You’re gonna hug them, you’re gonna pat them down, make sure they don’t have no weapons. You ask him, ‘Do you have any weapons?’ And then ask for the donations. Say ‘Do you have my donation?’ Get the donation first. And then before you go in and do anything, get the donation first.’”
Uber driver Keith Avila chose to help the confused teenager, rather than walk away. He alerted cops who rescued the young girl
Police are grateful to Avila for getting involved and making a difference.
Avila said that the females warned the girl to “get the donation first,” before any sexual acts.
Praising the Uber driver’s conscientiousness, Elk Grove police officer Chris Trim said, “He could’ve said nothing. Went on his way, collected his fare. And then that 16-year-old victim could’ve been victimized again by who knows how many different people over the next couple of days, weeks, months.”