A North Carolina teenage girl that was missing for over a month was just discovered during a prostitution sting at a Holiday Inn in Knoxville, TN this past week.
Three people were arrested during the operation – Timothy King, 27 and Jesse McMinn, 20 of Hickory and Tabitha Banks, 20, of Asheville
According to the arrest warrant, Knox County sheriff’s deputies responded to an ad on Backpage.com under the “women seeking men” category.
They made an appointment for the “two girl special,” then an undercover deputy went to the Holiday Inn, where he was invited to room 358. He made a deal with two of the suspects — McMinn and Banks — for an hour of full-service sex for $340.
Timothy King had registered the room and acted as security during the sting. Police found over $2,700 in cash on him.
Rian O’Quinn, 25, of Knoxville was charged with prostitution and simple possession, Kayla Inmate, 25, of Rockwood, Tenn., was charged with prostitution.
The missing 16-year-old girl (name omitted to protect her identity), who was being used as a sex slave, was reunited with her family in Asheville, according to officials.
“Usually, the age of entry is between 12 and 14, but we’ve had a couple of kids in our program that we knew were trafficking survivors and the youngest we had was 10,” said Karen Cowan with the Brandi Nichole Family Enrichment Center. “Some guys that will beat you into submission and you’re scared to death.”
Human trafficking continues to be a major problem in North Carolina. Our state saw a 62% increase in cases last year, and Charlotte continues to be a trafficking hub due to its size, major highways, and central location.