Uber driver overhears passengers sex trafficking teen, calls cops

Uber driver overhears passengers sex trafficking teen, calls cops

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - An Uber driver is being called a hero after he saw something and said something, and saved a 16-year-old from being a victim of sex trafficking.

Driver Keith Avilar of Sacramento, Cali. picked up two adult women and one teen back in December, 2016. He says he overheard the women instructing the teen what to do when they arrive at the hotel room, and realized the teen was being sex trafficked. Avilar called police.

In a Facebook video, Avilar says, "Man, I just saw some crazy stuff right now."

He goes on to explain how he picked up two adults and one teen and explains what he overheard.

"They were describing what they were gonna do before they got there, check for guns, get the money before you start touching up on the guy,” he said.

RELATED: Uber driver saves girl from sex trafficking

Avilar was in D.C. Thursday to receive an award for his quick thinking and shared his story with WUSA9 reporter Debra Alfarone.

The following is an Q and A with Avilar:

Debra Alfarone: “People call you a hero, what do you think of that?” 

Keith Avilar: “I think there's a lot of Uber drivers that would have done the same thing.”

Debra Alfarone: “You may have saved this girl's life.”

Keith Avilar: “I looked into her eyes, and you could see the insecurity and you could see the innocence, where she was kind of going along and I've been that age before where you are just kind of going along like people give you stuff so you just go along with it.”

Avila also works as a photographer, shooting weddings and quincenearas.

Keith Avilar: “That same hotel that I dropped her off at, the last time I was at that hotel, I had done a quinceneara.”

Debra Alfarone: “So, you're familiar with what they go through, in a way, as an observer?” 

Keith Avilar: “Yes.”

Debra Alfarone: “And something struck you with this young girl?”

Keith Alfarone: “Yes. Something wasn't right, yeah you could see it right away there's a contrast, I'm working with these girls (shooting their quincenearas) and their life is all good, it's beautiful....and then you compare it to this situation so you immediately spot, it's out, it's way away out.”

Debra Alfarone: “What do you want people to walk away from this story with?”

Keith Avilar: “I think that the more people that speak up, the more people that know about it, that actually even know that there's child sex trafficking, you'll be able to spot it and you'll be able to call it out more.”

Avilar is in the District for the Hope Awards. It's the 15th year the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has been thanking people who have gone above and beyond to help missing children.

© 2017 WUSA-TV


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