Police: 13-year-old sex trafficking victim rescued during Canton traffic stop

A 16-year-old girl is accused of trafficking a younger teenager, according to Canton police.

Combined ShapeCaption
A 16-year-old girl is accused of trafficking a younger teenager, according to Canton police.

A 13-year-old girl believed to be a victim of sex trafficking was rescued during a traffic stop in north Cherokee County this week, according to police. And investigators arrested an older teenager, who allegedly drove the girl across state lines.

At 10:24 a.m. Wednesday, a Canton police officer conducted a traffic stop on North Street after seeing a driver holding her cellphone, police said Friday. The 16-year-old driver, whose name was not released, did not have a driver’s license or identification, according to police.

When the officer checked the registration on the 2014 Dodge Caravan, it had been reported stolen out of North Carolina. Inside the van, the officer found various vaping items, marijuana and a large amount of lingerie, police said in a news release.

“After further investigation, detectives determined the female passenger was a 13-year-old juvenile, who was a victim of human trafficking and kidnapping,” the release stated. “Officers and detectives were able to determine the driver was transporting the victim to another state.”

Explore10 indicted on human trafficking charges in Fulton

The driver was arrested and charged with sex trafficking, kidnapping, giving a false name, theft by receiving stolen property, unlawful use of a wireless device, and drug possession, according to police. The teen was being held Friday at a regional youth detention center.

“I would like to express my gratitude for the exceptional work of our officers and detectives in this case,” Canton police Chief Stephen Merrifield said. “By taking a routine traffic stop and conducting an exceptional investigation, members of the Canton Police Department forever changed a young girl’s life for the better.”

Police said the victim was reunited with her family.