Backpage advertisement helps police find missing girl in human trafficking case

An advertisement on a website called Backpage, allegedly soliciting prostitution, led police to a young girl who was reported missing in North Carolina, according to a police report released on Thursday’s human trafficking arrests.

Police were advised that the young girl was believed to be in the Myrtle Beach area, the report states.

A street crimes unit officer contacted the young girl through a text message sent to a phone number listed with the juvenile’s photo on the Backpage ad, according to the report. Acting in an undercover capacity, the officer arranged to meet with her in a room at the Caribbean Resort and Villas in Myrtle Beach.

“An undercover officer was invited into the room ... and a takedown was conducted,” the report states.

The young girl was placed in protective custody and was later reunited with her family at the police station.

Twenty-year-old Kerry Andrell Lewis of Fayetteville, N.C. was charged with human trafficking and assigning prostitution in the investigation.

Thirty-seven-year-old Julius La Rose Riley of Homestead, Florida was charged with human trafficking and lying to police.

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