Sex trafficking case investigated in Berkeley

There's a new twist in what started out as a kidnapping report from a teen girl. Police now say it may be a case of sex trafficking.
April 16, 2014 11:51:16 PM PDT
There was a disturbing scene in Berkeley early Wednesday morning after a young girl, was found naked and hysterical, screaming for help. And now police believe she may be the victim of sex trafficking.

The young girl remains hospitalized. She was found at Piedmont and Ashby avenues. Police say they are investigating how exactly she got there, but say they believe the case is linked to human sex trafficking.

Berkeley resident Senobar Lanigan woke to the screams of a teenage girl outside her home on Piedmont Ave. The terrified girl had been pepper sprayed.

"She just couldn't see anything," she said. "So we brought her a bottle of water. It was cold, it was like five in the morning, and she poured the whole thing on herself, and she was completely naked."

The girl said she was raped. Neighbors called 911

The girl was taken to the hospital. Police believe she was the victim of human sex trafficking. Police say she may have been raped, robbed, and kidnapped, then left in Berkeley.

"The pepper spray looks to me, sounds to me like a buyer that has decided he's going to take advantage of a minor he's found," said Vanessa Scott, founder of Love Never Fails.

Scott says the case sounds horribly familiar. The nonprofit she founded is dedicated to helping victims of sex trafficking. She says the Bay Area is ground zero for the underground sex trade.

"Just in the past year we've encountered 306 exploited women, men, and children in the Bay Area," she said.

"I want to know what happened to her," Senobar said. "And I wish her all the best."

The Berkeley resident says she'll never forget that girl standing on her street.

The police investigation continues.


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