A California Uber driver is being credited with helping to save a 16-year-old girl from child sex trafficking.
Keith Avila picked up two women and their teenage victim in Elk Grove, California on Monday (26 December) and drove them to a Holiday Inn, NBC Latino reported. During the trip, the two women allegedly spoke openly about delivering the girl to a "John" and getting money in exchange.
After dropping the three off at the hotel, Avila called police and began recording events on Facebook Live.
"The worst thing I thought would happen when driving Uber is that I would be getting drunk passengers and I would have to handle them," the 34-year-old told NBC Latino.
"All my life, I thought about people throwing up in the car as the worst scenario."
Police arrested 25-year-old Destiny Pettway and 31-year-old Maria Westley when they arrived at the scene, Elk Grove public information officer Chris Trim told the station.
Authorities then discovered 20-year-old Disney Vang with the 16-year-old victim upon entering the hotel room.
Avila was congratulated by a member of the Uber Safety Team and was informed that the three people involved were permanently banned from the ride-sharing service. "Maintaining the platform as a safe and comfortable place for both riders and driver partners is very important to us, and any incident that disrupts that experience for either party is one we take very seriously," an email from the company to Avila said.
"We appreciate your professionalism in a difficult situation," it added.
Pettway and Westley were charged with pimping and pandering, while Vang was arrested on suspicions of sexual activity with a minor and later released. According to the Sacramento Bee, Pettway and Westley are due back in court on 5 January.
Sacramento Superior Court Judge Jaime Roman delayed Pettway's arraignment until January to give her time to hire a lawyer. Jail records reveal she remains in Sacramento County Main Jail on $530,000 (£430,999) bail. Westley also remains in Sacramento County Main Jail on a $510,500 (£415,141) bail.
Police said that the victim was a runaway who had been sent to stay at an "alternative housing situation" until her parents or guardians could be found.