Arrests highlight 'prevalent' problem of human trafficking in Utah
The woman was placed in protective custody and was at an undisclosed location in Salt Lake County Tuesday, police said. But otherwise, local authorities released very little new information about the case Tuesday. Salt Lake police said the FBI was now working on the case.
Questions about whether the victim had been reported missing by friends or family or how she was able to obtain a cellphone remained unanswered.
Pinnock, who is accused of arranging prostitution clients for the victim, was arrested earlier this year in Connecticut as part of an effort to crack down on prostitution before the Super Bowl, according to a news release from Connecticut state police on Feb. 3. She was among nine people arrested as part of Operation Recovered Innocence.
"The operation was conducted in an effort to recover victims of child prostitution, which was in support of a larger FBI effort in the tri-state area to combat child prostitution during Super Bowl week," the release stated.
Four underage girls were rescued as part of that operation.
Pinnock was charged with prostitution, a class A misdemeanor, in Stamford Superior Court in Connecticut. She was released on a "promise to appear," according to court officials. Court records show Pinnock did appear for her Feb. 11 and Feb. 25 court dates. On Feb. 25, she applied for the "accelerated rehabilitation program," a kind of plea in abeyance generally given to defendants who have no prior criminal history.
Pinnock was supposed to appear in court Tuesday in Connecticut to find out whether a judge would allow her into the program. That hearing was postponed until April 15.
According to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center, between December 2007 and September 2013, the center received 275 calls that originated in Utah claiming human trafficking. Sixty-one of those calls were in 2013 alone.
The Utah Trafficking in Persons Task Force estimates that millions of men, women and children are trafficked around the world each year, and that human trafficking is a $32 billion dollar industry.
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