CANTON, Ga. - A 13-year-old girl believed to be the victim of human trafficking was rescued Wednesday during a traffic stop, Canton police said. A 16-year-old has since been arrested on human trafficking, kidnapping, and multiple other charges.
So much just did not add up during that stop along North Street near Railroad Street, police said. Just after 10:20 a.m., officers pulled over a 2014 Dodge Caravan, which police said they learned was reported stolen out of North Carolina. Officers said they observed the driver holding a phone while the van was moving.
Officers saw a young woman behind the wheel and a young teenage girl in the car when they approached, police said. The young woman behind the wheel could not provide officers with a driver's license or identification, police said.
A search of the vehicle turned up 13 THC vape cartridges, 3 vape pens, a THC Nerds Rope, and a large amount of lingerie, police said.
Investigators said they later determined the driver was going to transport the young teen to another state. Instead, officers were able to reunite the young teen with her family.
"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 Police Chief Stephen Merrifield.
It was also later learned, the driver was just 16 years old. She was charged with trafficking of persons for labor or sexual servitude, kidnapping, giving false name, address, or date of birth, theft by receiving stolen property, unlawful use of a wireless device, and drug possession. She was booked into the Regional Youth Detention Center. Her name has not been released.