SACRAMENTO, CA (NBC News) — Uber driver Keith Avila is credited with helping save a 16-year-old girl from child sex trafficking.
Avila said he picked up two women and the teen and drove them to a Holiday Inn in Elk Grove, California. While in the car, the women openly talked about delivering the girl to a “John” and getting money from him.
Once Avila dropped them off at the hotel, he called the police.
“The worst thing I thought would happen when driving Uber is that I would be getting drunk passengers and I would have to handle them,” Avila, 34, told NBC Latino. “All my life, I thought about people throwing up in the car as the worst scenario.”
Elk Grove public information officer Chris Trim told NBC Latino that police immediately detained Destiny Pettway, 25, and Maria Westley, 31, when they arrived at the scene. Police found the trafficking victim with Disney Vang, 20, in a hotel room.
The victim was discovered to be a runaway, and she was sent to stay in an “alternative housing situation” until her parents or guardians could be located, police said.
An Uber representative reiterated their admiration for his quick thinking and thanked him again.
“Maintaining the platform as a safe and comfortable place for both riders and driver partners is very important to us, and any incident that disrupts that experience for either party is one we take very seriously,” the email read. “We appreciate your professionalism in a difficult situation.”