A 15-Year-Old Girl was found in Oklahoma City Sex-trafficking ring after being abducted days before from Dallas Mavericks game at the American Airlines Center

On April 8, 2022, the national spotlight was brought to the human rights issue of human trafficking in Dallas after a North Richland Hills 15-year-old girl was abducted from the American Airlines Center. The 15-year-old girl's father told police of his daughter's disappearance after she had told him that she was going to the bathroom and never returned. Police declared the 15-year-old a runaway and the investigation opened that night.[1] Video footage show her leaving the American Airlines stadium with an unknown man.[2]

      Zeke Fortenberry, the family attorney, stated that Dallas police ignored signs that her disappearance was an abduction. The teen was on good terms with her father and left without her phone, however, she had run away once before.[3]

      This abduction was described as all-too-regular exploitation of girls and women in North Texas. Fortenberry stated that Dallas Police did not open a case for the alleged kidnapping despite multiple pleads from the family.[4] The Dallas Police Department Missing Persons web site states that: “To report a runaway juvenile, the juvenile's legal address must be in the City of Dallas.”[5] The department did not continue the investigation citing a Texas Family Code, stating that, "missing juveniles are investigated as runaways unless there are circumstances which appear as involuntary such as a kidnapping or abduction."[6] The case was filed in the suburb where the family lives.[7] Fortenberry claimed that the North Richland Hills police could not help as the incident occurred in a different city. Dallas Police told a Dallas area news organization, WFAA, that they aided the North Richland Hills Police Department. The family charge the Dallas Mavericks, the American Airline Center, and Dallas Police for not acting swiftly enough.[8]

       According to a 2016 study by the Institute on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault at University of Texas at Austin’s Steve Hicks School of Social Work, in 2016 there were 313,000 victims of human trafficking in Texas, of which 79,000 were children. Approximately 234,000 workers in Texas were victims of labor trafficking. Minor and youth sex tracking costs the state of Texas approximately $6.6 billion.[9] People often fail to realize how big of human rights issue we have on our hands with human trafficking until it hits close to home. The organization New Friends New Life raises awareness to trafficking in Dallas with its monthly “Sex Trafficking Awareness Excursion”. The Dallas anti-trafficking nonprofit assists over 400 women and girls who have been exploited annually. “There’s a lot of myths of where trafficking happens,” said Agent John Perez, North Texas Trafficking Task Force, a Homeland Security Investigation-led collective of law enforcement agencies that combats human trafficking through proactive operations. “Trafficking can happen literally anywhere”[10]

      The parents called on the non-profit organization Texas Counter-Trafficking Initiative to help locate their daughter. Texas Counter-Trafficking Initiative found explicit images of the teen on a prostitution website and on April 18 alerted the Oklahoma City police.[11] The 15-year girl was found and rescued by Oklahoma City Police on April 18. Police arrested eight individuals; several have significant criminal histories.[12]

      On April 20 the Dallas Mavericks released the following statement: "The American Airlines Center (and the Dallas Mavericks) are grateful that the teenager has been found. Both entities will cooperate with local and regional law enforcement on the case."[13]

 

 

SOURCES

[1] “Girl's Disappearance from Dallas Mavericks Game Spurs Awareness of Human Trafficking.” Dallas Morning News, 5 Aug. 2022, https://www.dallasnews.com/news/crime/2022/07/29/girls-abduction-at-dallas-mavericks-game-spurs-awareness-of-human-trafficking/. 

 

[2] K. Querry-Thompson, “Police arrest 3 after Texas teen found safe in Oklahoma City,” KFOR.com Oklahoma News 4, April 19, 2022, https://kfor.com/news/local/police-arrest-3-after-texas-teen-found-safe-in-oklahoma-city/ (accessed October 20, 2022)

 

[3] Maggie Prosser / The Dallas Morning News, “Girl’s Abduction From Dallas Mavericks Game Spurs Awareness of Human Trafficking,” The Chronicle, August 3, 2022 https://www.chronline.com/stories/girls-abduction-from-dallas-mavericks-game-spurs-awareness-of-human-trafficking,297831 (accessed October 20, 2022)

 

[4] Cheyanne R. Ubiera, “STADIUM 'KIDNAPPERS' Hunt for ‘abductors who kidnapped girl, 15, from basketball game before her nude pics were posted online by traffickers’ The U.S. Sun, June 10 2022.  https://www.the-sun.com/news/5537850/teen-girl-abducted-dallas-texas-hunt-traffickers-statement/ (accessed October 20, 2022); Audrey Conklin, Texas girl, 15, trafficked from Mavericks game in Dallas; 8 arrested in Oklahoma: police,” Fox News, May 20, 2022, https://www.foxnews.com/us/texas-girl-trafficked-mavericks-dallas-suspects-arrested-oklahoma (accessed October 20, 2022)

 

[5] Dallas Police department, Missing Person Squad. https://www.dallaspolice.net/division/youthoperations/missingperson (accessed October 20, 2022)

 

[6] Cheyanne R. Ubiera, “STADIUM 'KIDNAPPERS' Hunt for ‘abductors who kidnapped girl, 15, from basketball game before her nude pics were posted online by traffickers’ The U.S. Sun, June 10 2022.  https://www.the-sun.com/news/5537850/teen-girl-abducted-dallas-texas-hunt-traffickers-statement/ (accessed October 20, 2022)

 

[7] Mary Papenfuss, “Teen Kidnapped At Dallas Basketball Game Found Days Later Held In Hotel Room : Family blasts Dallas police who they say didn't bother to launch a search. The teen was found by Oklahoma City Police 200 miles away.” Huffpost, May 21 2022,  https://www.huffpost.com/entry/teen-abduction-dallas-sex-traffic_n_62897578e4b0415d4d784450 (accessed October 20, 2022)

 

[8] Mike Fisher, “Family of Abducted Girl Claims Inaction of Dallas Police & Mavs in Sex Trafficking Case

“The American Airlines Center (and the Dallas Mavericks) are grateful that the teenager has been found.'' - A statement from the Mavs.” SI.com, May 12, 2022. https://www.si.com/nba/mavericks/news/abducted-girl-claims-dallas-police-mavs-sex-trafficking-case#gid=ci02a10198b0002506&pid=aac-inside- (accessed October 20, 2022)

 

[9] University of Texas at Austin, Institute on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault, School of Social Work, “Human Trafficking by the Numbers: The Initial Benchmark of Prevalence and Economic Impact for Texas” Final report, December 2016, 13.

 

[10] Maggie Prosser / The Dallas Morning News, “Girl’s Abduction From Dallas Mavericks Game Spurs Awareness of Human Trafficking,” The Chronicle, August 3, 2022 https://www.chronline.com/stories/girls-abduction-from-dallas-mavericks-game-spurs-awareness-of-human-trafficking,297831 (accessed October 20, 2022)

 

[11] Audrey Conklin, Texas girl, 15, trafficked from Mavericks game in Dallas; 8 arrested in Oklahoma: police,” Fox News, May 20, 2022, https://www.foxnews.com/us/texas-girl-trafficked-mavericks-dallas-suspects-arrested-oklahoma (accessed October 20, 2022); Brya Berry, “Court documents reveal sex trafficking scheme in OKC involving 15-year-old Texas girl,” KFOR.com Oklahoma News 4, April 21, 2022, https://kfor.com/news/local/court-documents-reveal-sex-trafficking-scheme-in-okc-involving-15-year-old-texas-girl/ (accessed October 20, 2022)

 

[12] Mary Papenfuss, “Teen Kidnapped At Dallas Basketball Game Found Days Later Held In Hotel Room : Family blasts Dallas police who they say didn't bother to launch a search. The teen was found by Oklahoma City Police 200 miles away.” Huffpost, May 21 2022,  https://www.huffpost.com/entry/teen-abduction-dallas-sex-traffic_n_62897578e4b0415d4d784450 (accessed October 20, 2022)

 

[13] Mike Fisher, “Family of Abducted Girl Claims Inaction of Dallas Police & Mavs in Sex Trafficking Case “The American Airlines Center (and the Dallas Mavericks) are grateful that the teenager has been found.'' - A statement from the Mavs.” SI.com, May 12, 2022. https://www.si.com/nba/mavericks/news/abducted-girl-claims-dallas-police-mavs-sex-trafficking-case#gid=ci02a10198b0002506&pid=aac-inside- (accessed October 20, 2022)

BIBLIOGRAPHY

 Berry, Brya. “Court documents reveal sex trafficking scheme in OKC involving 15-year-old Texas girl,” KFOR.com Oklahoma News 4, April 21, 2022, https://kfor.com/news/local/court-documents-reveal-sex-trafficking-scheme-in-okc-involving-15-year-old-texas-girl/  (accessed October 20, 2022)

 

Conklin, Audrey. “Texas girl, 15, trafficked from Mavericks game in Dallas; 8 arrested in Oklahoma: police,” Fox News, May 20, 2022, https://www.foxnews.com/us/texas-girl-trafficked-mavericks-dallas-suspects-arrested-oklahoma  (accessed October 20, 2022)

 

Dallas Police department, Missing Person Squad. https://www.dallaspolice.net/division/youthoperations/missingperson  (accessed October 20, 2022)

 

Fisher, Mike. “Family of Abducted Girl Claims Inaction of Dallas Police & Mavs in Sex Trafficking Case.” Sports Illustrated Dallas Mavericks News, Analysis and More, Sports Illustrated Dallas Mavericks News, Analysis and More, 12 May 2022, https://www.si.com/nba/mavericks/news/abducted-girl-claims-dallas-police-mavs-sex-trafficking-case#gid=ci02a10198b0002506&pid=aac-inside-  (accessed October 20, 2022)

 

Papenfuss, Mary. “Teen Kidnapped At Dallas Basketball Game Found Days Later Held In Hotel Room : Family blasts Dallas police who they say didn't bother to launch a search. The teen was found by Oklahoma City Police 200 miles away.” Huffpost, May 21 2022,  https://www.huffpost.com/entry/teen-abduction-dallas-sex-traffic_n_62897578e4b0415d4d784450 (accessed October 20, 2022)

 

Prosser, Maggie. / The Dallas Morning News (TNS). “Girl's Abduction from Dallas Mavericks Game Spurs Awareness of Human Trafficking.” The Daily Chronicle, 3 Aug. 2022, https://www.chronline.com/stories/girls-abduction-from-dallas-mavericks-game-spurs-awareness-of-human-trafficking,297831  (accessed October 20, 2022)

 

“Girl's Disappearance from Dallas Mavericks Game Spurs Awareness of Human Trafficking.” Dallas Morning News, 5 Aug. 2022, https://www.dallasnews.com/news/crime/2022/07/29/girls-abduction-at-dallas-mavericks-game-spurs-awareness-of-human-trafficking/   (accessed October 20, 2022)

 

Querry-Thompson, K.  “Police arrest 3 after Texas teen found safe in Oklahoma City,” KFOR.com Oklahoma News 4, April 19, 2022, https://kfor.com/news/local/police-arrest-3-after-texas-teen-found-safe-in-oklahoma-city/ (accessed October 20, 2022)

 

Ubiera, Cheyanne R. “STADIUM 'KIDNAPPERS' Hunt for ‘abductors who kidnapped girl, 15, from basketball game before her nude pics were posted online by traffickers’ The U.S. Sun, June 10 2022.  https://www.the-sun.com/news/5537850/teen-girl-abducted-dallas-texas-hunt-traffickers-statement/ (accessed October 20, 2022)

 

University of Texas at Austin, Institute on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault, School of Social Work, “Human Trafficking by the Numbers: The Initial Benchmark of Prevalence and Economic Impact for Texas” Final report, December 2016, 13.

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Cite this Page:

Lily Foregger, “A 15-Year-Old Girl was found in Oklahoma City Sex-trafficking ring after being abducted days before from Dallas Mavericks game at the American Airlines Center,” Human Rights Dallas Maps, accessed December 7, 2022, http://humanrightsdallasmaps.com/items/show/35.

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