13-year-old rescued from sex trafficking during Canton traffic stop, authorities say

sex trafficking
sex trafficking(WGCL)
Published: Jun. 25, 2022 at 10:37 AM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - A 16-year-old is under arrest and a 13-year-old is back with her family following a traffic stop in Cherokee County, according to police.

Canton police posted to their Facebook page Wednesday with details of the traffic stop.

According to the news release, just before 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, an officer conducted a traffic stop on North Street near Railroad Street after observing a driver holding her cell phone while driving.

When asked for identification, the female driver could not provide a driver’s license or identification, leading the officer to obtain her name and date of birth.

Upon running the vehicle registration, the officer learned the 2014 Dodge Caravan she was driving was reported stolen out of North Carolina.

A search of the fan led police to finding 13 THC vape cartridges, three vape pens, a THC Nerds Rope and a “large amount of lingerie” according to police.

Investigators were then called to the scene, and they determined the female passenger was a 13-year-old who was a victim of human trafficking and kidnapping, police said, and officers and detectives determined the driver was transporting the victim to another state.

The female driver was placed under arrest and charged with trafficking, kidnapping, providing false information, theft, unlawful use of a wireless device and possession of a controlled substance.

Police said it was later determined the female driver was in fact a 16-year-old juvenile, after obtaining her true identity.

She is currently in custody at a regional youth detention center.

The victim has been reunited with her family, police said

Canton Chief of Police Stephen Merrifield stated, “I would like to express my gratitude for the exceptional work of our Officers and Detectives in this case. 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, “said Canton Chief of Police Stephen Merrifield