Watch: Here's How an Alert Uber Driver Saved a 16-Year-Old Sex Trafficking Victim From Pimps and Further Abuse

A driver looks from an Uber self-driving car on September 13, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Uber launched a groundbreaking driverless car service, stealing ahead of Detroit auto giants and Silicon Valley rivals with technology that could revolutionize transportation.  / AFP / Angelo Merendino        (Photo credit should read ANGELO MERENDINO/AFP/Getty Images)

Watch: Here's How an Alert Uber Driver Saved a 16-Year-Old Sex Trafficking Victim From Pimps and Further Abuse

The two pimps and a john were arrested while the victim was placed in protective custody.

Published December 30, 2016

Uber driver Keith Avila never knew what he was getting himself into when he picked up three women on Monday night (December 26). Soon after he was taking them to a hotel however, an ominous situation began to unfold.

Two of the women — Destiny Pettway , 25, and Maria Westly , 31, revealed themselves as pimps in a conversation with the third rider, an unnamed 16-year-old girl. The trio was on the way to the hotel to allegedly have sex with a 20-year-old man named Disney Vang.

Avila heard the two women giving the teen sex tips, and after dropping them off, decided to call police and report them. Law enforcement in Elk Grove, California, headed to the drop off point and arrested Pettway, Westly, and Vang — charging the women with pimping and pandering and Vang with having sex with a minor. The sex-trafficking victim, who was a runaway, was put into protective custody.

Avila later told KCRA News why he decided to alert the authorities and what tipped him off. “She had a really short skirt,” Avila told the news network. “So, you could see all her legs, and it struck me as odd because she was so young and she was dressing like that.”

“She starts coaching and saying, 'OK when we get there the first thing you're gonna do is give the guy a hug and you're gonna ask if he has any weapons,'” he told KXTV. He estimates that he was only in the car with the three women for 13 minutes. Luckily it was enough time to make sure something was wrong.

Police are praising Avila for his response to the situation. They say he went above and beyond. “He could've said nothing,” Elk Grove police officer Chris Trim said. “Went on his way, collected his fare. And then that 16-year-old victim could've been victimized again by who knows how many different people over the next couple of days, weeks, months.”

Check out KRON 4 News’ package on the heroic incident below.

Written by Paul Meara

(Photo: ANGELO MERENDINO/AFP/Getty Images)


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