First Human Trafficking Victim Rescued In Guilford County

8:10 PM, May 8, 2010   |    comments
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Greensboro, NC -- Guilford County deputies and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement or "ICE" task force believe they rescued a female human trafficking victim.

Tips led deputies to believe human trafficking was happening in the home on 700 English Street in Greensboro.  When they showed up with a search warrant Friday night, someone inside the home started shooting.
The suspected shooter, Reyna Isabel-Reyes Caballero from Honduras, has been charged with assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill. Detectives are also looking into charging Caballero with human trafficking law violations on the state level.

Colonel Randy Powers with the Guilford County Sheriff's Department said Caballero was one of four men inside the home holding a female against her will.  He says all four men are in the U.S. illegally.  He didn't reveal the age of the victim, but also said she is not from the U.S.  "We have good reason to believe she was being forced to have sex with patrons that were coming in," says Powers when explaining the abuses the victim suffered.

Sandra Johnson, the founder of Triad Ladder of Hope, says that is just a portion of what she could have suffered, "They are traumatized, they are tortured, they are beaten, they are raped continuously, they are told that no one will help them, they are brainwashed to believe that police will not help them, that they'll arrest them, they'll deport them and they'll go to jail."

"Once we did the interview, she did reveal to us that she was being held against her will," says Powers, "If they were brought here against their will, or they are being held here against their will, they are a victim." 

Powers said despite the fact this is the first human trafficking victim the department has ever rescued, that doesn't mean that it's not a problem in Guilford County, "It is something that needs to be addressed. It is an underground type operation that goes on.  They are not real easy to spot."

Johnson agrees, "We don't know how large this problem is, but we know there is a problem here. Very few victims are rescued because most of the public are not aware that it happens here. They think it happens in other countries, but not in 'our city'. It's like 'not our town', but someplace else. But it does happen here."  Johnson teaches about being aware of human trafficking.  She says the red flags to look for are people who don't speak up for themselves, appear frightened, or seem to be controlled by another individual.  If you see these signs you can contact her organization or the police.

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