Fresno teen woman arrested for trafficking missing girl, investigators have questions

Nicole Williams was arrested in San Bernardino on March 5th

San Bernardino, California - Nicole Williams, a Fresno teenager, is facing human trafficking charges. Investigators say she was caught trafficking a missing girl in downtown San Bernardino. The human trafficking task force in San Bernardino is concerned there may be more victims with ties to Williams. Here locally, law enforcement officials and victims advocates say they know Williams and there could be more to this story.
"She was booked for felony charges of human trafficking and pandering and her bail was set at $150,000," said San Bernardino Sheriff's Department Public Information Officer Jodi Miller.  

The San Bernardino Sheriff's Department says19-year-old Nicole Williams is from Fresno and was trafficking a missing girl in downtown San Bernardino when she was arrested. Now her picture is being shared with law enforcement in Fresno in the hopes of identifying any other possible victims. 

"That's why we think it's important to reach out to the areas where our suspects are coming from," said Miller.  

In Fresno, this shared information is helping law enforcement to keep up with sex traffickers. 

"They know that it's more difficult for law enforcement to work outside their jurisdiction to have the resources to follow up in other jurisdictions and they try to utilize that, but now with the task force in place we're putting a stop to that," said Sgt. Curt Chastain of the Fresno Police Department's Vice Unit. 

So, how does a 19-year-old woman find herself in this position? 

"This is not going to be the end of the story and unfortunately this is also going to be a trend that we are going to see an uptick of," said human trafficking survivor and victims advocate Debra Rush. 

Rush is the CEO of Breaking the Chains helping to educate and rescue women from the sex trade. She says in some cases pimps trying to avoid law enforcement are using the women to do the trafficking for them. 

"They're sitting in the background unseen. Simply through text messages sometimes cities away not just blocks miles or feet away and they are orchestrating this entire chain of events," said Rush.  

Rush says she expects investigators to dig deeper into this case. 

"Law enforcement is not playing. They are handing out life sentences to men and women, so if your pimp is telling you that you are not going to get in trouble this very well could be a case where we see quite the opposite," said Rush.  

The missing girl in this case was rescued and turned over to child family services. If you have any information that can help investigators you can remain anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers at 498-STOP. 

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