I-85 a busy corridor for human trafficking between Charlotte and Greensboro

A 13-year-old girl from Texas was found locked in an outbuilding in Davidson County, North Carolina.
Published: Mar. 14, 2023 at 3:18 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A recent disturbing case out of Davidson County highlights one of the reasons that the Charlotte area, and the highways that travel through the area, is the number one spot in North Carolina for human trafficking.

A 13-year-old girl from Texas was found locked in an outbuilding in Davidson County, North Carolina.

Law enforcement found she had been talking to 34-year-old Jorge Camacho through social media and said the discussions were “consistent with grooming and enticement.”

Camacho allegedly paid the girl to leave home so he could pick her up in a car that was registered to an address in Davidson County. Camacho then took her to Lexington, N.C.

Camacho was arrested and given a $1,250,000 bond.

The state of North Carolina says interstate highways are frequently used to traffic children, and not for some of the obvious reasons you might think. On the interstate, you not only get there faster, but you’re less conspicuous and less likely to be stopped, officials said.

“You’re probably not going to fly a human trafficking victim, so if you are trafficking someone you’re going to have to drive,” said Chief Deputy Jason Owens, Rowan Sheriff’s Office. “You’re probably less likely to get stopped on the interstate versus going through local towns and small municipalities with police departments and things.”

“North Carolina, we’re ranked 9th in the United States for human trafficking. The three major areas, the number 1 is the Charlotte region,” said Sheriff Van Shaw of Cabarrus County.

The case in Davidson County that was reported yesterday shows how prevalent these cases are and how they can cover many miles.

“We definitely see a steady influx of trafficking cases here at the CAC,” said Erin Moody. “I would say we get a steady amount through the year. Trafficking can look very different in every single case.”

Moody is Prevention and Education Coordinator at the Terrie Hess House Child Advocacy Center in Salisbury. She says she is seeing more victims of human trafficking, and trying to help each one, no matter where they come from.

“Here at the CAC we focus on the initial appointments which are forensic interviews and medical, but we have so many important services that come after that which really helps children make their own meaning of a traumatic experience and figure out where do they want to go from here and how can we support them in getting there,” Moody added. “Human trafficking is a prevalent problem. It is everywhere in all 50 states and it is not necessarily a crime that we associate with people who are may be not documented. While we might see patterns in the type of people who are targeted for human trafficking, they in no way exclude people, we want people to take it seriously in every community and be on the lookout.”

Moody says it’s very important for parents and members of the public to be aware of situations around them involving children, and to not be hesitant about contacting authorities.

“If you have a concern, that’s all you need to have to alert authorities and they will look into it for us,” Moody said.

“They’re all good kids, but they can all fall prey to a very manipulating individual,” Sheriff Shaw added.

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