Local News

Fayetteville pledges to address human, sex trafficking

Posted August 26, 2014
Updated August 27, 2014

— A South Carolina woman was coerced into traveling to Fayetteville, where she was held captive in a hotel room and used for sexual servitude.

In May, a Fayetteville mother and her two adult sons were arrested and charged with prostituting a child.

Human and sex trafficking have become so prevalent in the city that law enforcement, elected officials and community leaders held a press conference outside the Cumberland County Courthouse Tuesday afternoon to voice their commitment to addressing it. Along with pledging to work together, city and county officials also issued a proclamation to end human and sex trafficking in the county.

“Human trafficking has become a serious problem in this city, and we need to address it head on,” Fayetteville Mayor Nat Robertson said.

Nationwide, officials say human and sex trafficking is a $32 billion dollar industry that puts 200,000 children at risk every year.

North Carolina has been ranked among the top 10 states in the country for human and sex trafficking.

Fayetteville is not the only North Carolina city dealing with human and sex trafficking:

Within the past year, 14 teenagers and young women aged 16-22 have been helped by the Fayetteville Dream Center, a non-profit that ministers to victims of sexual servitude.

Kelly Twedell, who leads the center, said many are lured into human and sex trafficking through social media and being coerced into modeling jobs that turn into sexual encounters.

“Where they are paid top dollar all throughout the night,” she said. “And that’s when, a lot of times, drugs come into play. And when the girls are addicted to the drugs, it’s very hard to escape that world, along with fear, you know, weapons, threats against their family.”

Fayetteville’s location along Interstate 95, in addition to its younger population, has made the city ripe for human and sex trafficking, Cumberland County District Attorney Billy West said.

“We are somewhat of a breeding ground and allocation where sex trafficking has been and can be a problem,” he said.

Human and sex trafficking are often drivers for other crimes, said Fayetteville Police Chief Harold Medlock, who pledged to address the issue.

“We’re gonna be aggressive,” he said. “We’re gonna go after the organized criminals, the pimps, that are driving this crime, using every resource that we have."


This story is closed for comments.

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  • Jerry Sawyer Aug 27, 2014
    user avatar

    Well, that is very nice of them. Are they saying they haven't been until now?

  • iopsyc Aug 27, 2014

    View quoted thread

    True, but absent any other data it is our best proxy.

  • babylaceycarpenter Aug 27, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Violent crime, is a cover all, broad spectrum, that includes many crimes. It does not mean that the murder rate is down that same 4%.

  • iopsyc Aug 27, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Yesterday it was reported that there was a 4% drop in violent crime. Seems like they are working on murder as well.

  • North Carolina Cutie Aug 27, 2014

    We don't need to be negative in any way about this issue, regardless of the age once someone give you drugs and you get addicted you need help. It starts with young people looking for love in all the wrong places. The community is doing the right thing.

  • Rick Price Aug 27, 2014
    user avatar

    Human trafficking is a problem , but these women were 16 to 22 years old , they are adults , they should know better. 14 adult women and 200,000 children , HELP THE CHILDREN , not the crack heads.

  • derwillemacht Aug 27, 2014

    Good for them. This is a major problem. It's encouraging to see leadership stepping up to fix it.

  • ptrrrk1 Aug 27, 2014

    Fayetteville should be bulldozed……..

  • babylaceycarpenter Aug 27, 2014

    I wonder when the chief will vow to address the murder problem.