Teenage girl victimized by human traffickers at home of Dallas Stars

This story is all kinds of shocking.

Michael Whitaker

It may sound like something right out of "Taken", but it's a tragic reminder that human trafficking occurs everywhere. 

Last month, a 15 year old girl vanished from American Airlines Center while attending a Dallas Mavericks game with her father; the venue is also home to the NHL's Dallas Stars.

She went to use the restroom and never returned to her seat. Upon investigation, security cameras captured her leaving the venue with an unidentified male. And then, in a horrifying twist, the girl's parents finally discovered her whereabouts after seeing her in nude advertisements for sex trafficking online in Oklahoma City. 

Thankfully, this story has a positive ending, as law enforcement was able to track down the girl and eventually find her over 200 miles away from the venue from which she was kidnapped, as well as make arrests of eight people involved. 

And according to attorney Zeke Fortenberry, there were several failures that took place. The girl's father reported his missing daughter to police within the venue after realizing she was missing, only to be told that he must report it to North Richland Hills Police, his place of residence. Upon doing so, he was reportedly told that the case was out of their jurisdiction due to the fact that the arena is in downtown Dallas. 

Soon after, the Houston-based human trafficking agency Texas Counter-Trafficking Initiativewas able to utilize their facial recognition technology, which enabled them to discover the girl's location almost immediately. 

"The family was frustrated," Fortenberry said. "After days of not getting any information from the Dallas Police Department and Dallas Police not taking any action, the family sought out the help of this agency in Houston.”

“That agency was able to help them locate the photograph of their daughter online within the same day," Fortenberry said. 

The hotel where the girl was found along with the subsequent arrests will also be facing justified scrutiny, as several clear warning signs were missed.

“This girl was being sexually assaulted in a hotel room multiple nights," Fortenberry said. "Any time she could have been rescued from that sooner would have been better.”

"When a 40-something year old man walks in with a 15-year-old girl and rents multiple hotel rooms and then there is traffic coming in and out of those rooms, those are red flags," Fortenberry said.