Wiretap Uber driver rescued 16-year-old passenger from child sex trade, police say

Two women got into an Uber with the girl outside a house in Sacramento, California. Halfway to their destination, they told him to check the guns before “touching the guy”

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Uber driver Keith Avila picked up a passenger on Monday evening who looked like a 12-year-old girl in a short skirt. It was the first sign that something was wrong, he would say later.


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Two women got into his car with the young girl outside a house in Sacramento, California. Halfway to their destination – a Holiday Inn in the suburbs – they asked Avila to turn up the music, he said.

Then the women turned to the girl. Avila listened.

“They described what they were going to do when they got there: ‘Check if there are any guns. Get the money before you start hitting the guy, ”Avila told Facebook Live minutes after dropping off the passengers, then called the police to report the women he suspected of prostituting the child.

The girl was 16, not 12, Elk Grove police told local media. But Avila’s suspicions were correct, they said. The teenager was being sold for sex at the Holiday Inn, and her eavesdropping Uber driver had saved her.


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A 34-year-old husband, father and quinceanera photographer, Avila had started driving for Uber weeks earlier, the Daily Beast reported. Monday’s tariff made him an instant celebrity.

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“The police are right there; look at that! ”Avila said in the Facebook video, as blue lights flashed in her rear windshield.

Outside in the hotel parking lot, police were arresting Destiny Pettway, 25, and Maria Westley, 31, on charges of pimping and threatening a minor.

“I said to the police, ‘If you don’t come, I’m going to go there myself and take pictures of these guys,’” Avila said on Facebook. “It is not a good life to be under the control of another human being for the purpose of sex trafficking.”

He said he even gave the police the hotel room number after hearing the girl call him John, “probably a pervert moron,” he said.

Police said they caught Disney Vang, 20, at the hotel and “determined that [he] had been involved in illegal sexual activity with the victim. Vang was arrested and charged.


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Avila broadcast from the scene of the arrest for 10 minutes on Monday, until an officer gestured for him to get out of his car to help him remove the suspected pimps from a queue. His video has been viewed over 170,000 times since, and the photographer-turned-Uber driver has become a public hero.

“He could have said nothing and walked on and got his ticket back,” Elk Grove police spokesperson Christopher Trim told Fox affiliate KTXL. “And this 16 year old victim would have been victimized by who knows how many different people.”

The girl – apparently a runaway – was taken “to another accommodation”, according to the authorities.

“She’s reunited with her family,” Avila told The Daily Beast. “I felt pretty good about it.”


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