LIFE

Officer Rescues 15-Year-Old Human Trafficking Victim During Routine Traffic Stop On Highway

by Kim Wong-Shing
Kim Wong-Shing is a staff writer at LittleThings. Her work spans beauty, wellness, pop culture, identity, food, and other topics. She is a contributing writer at NaturallyCurly, and her work has also appeared in HelloGiggles, Lifehacker, Wear Your Voice Magazine, and other outlets. She grew up in Philadelphia, attended Brown University, and is now based in New Orleans.

Sometimes, monsters hide in plain sight. An Ohio state trooper ended up rescuing a human trafficking victim while making a regular traffic stop on the highway.

Ohio State Highway Patrolman Mitch Ross stopped a driver on I-80 west in Lucas County, Ohio. He planned to issue the adult male driver a “failure to move” citation, but then he noticed that a young girl was riding in the car with the man. Neither of them had identification or spoke English.

The trooper’s gut feeling told him that something wasn’t quite right, so he called a translator from OSHP to investigate. The translator, too, felt like something was terribly wrong.

The girl turned out to be 15 years old. She’d been reported missing in New Jersey. The driver, a 35-year-old man, was taking her to Chicago.

When officers were able to speak to the girl alone, she told them that the man had “forced her to perform acts” on him, per a press release.

The girl is now receiving medical care. The driver is at the Lucas County jail, where he faces charges for abduction. Authorities haven’t released the identities of either the victim or the trafficker.

There were over 10,000 human trafficking victims in the US in 2017, including 7,255 victims of sex trafficking, according to the Polaris Project‘s National Hotline. Law enforcement systems are one of the top five points of access for victims to get free.

Footage provided by WJW Cleveland

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