Human trafficking victim escapes in Utah after kidnapped in NY

Tuesday, April 1, 2014 - 6:03pm

Two people are accused of kidnapping a woman in New York and taking her to Salt Lake City as part of a human trafficking ring.

26-year-old Jean Joseph and 24-year-old Tara Pinnock were arrested and booked on suspicion of human trafficking.

The Salt Lake City Police Department got a disturbing call.

"She was just walking down street in New York when she was kidnapped. We received a call from a female who state she had been kidnapped and was able to escape," said Sgt. Robin Heiden with Salt Lake City Police.

Sgt. Heiden said the 23-year old woman was able to free herself and then hide long enough for police to find her: "This female had been kidnapped and brought here to Salt Lake City by a male who was using her to prostitute."

The woman says she tried to get a away several times, in Pennsylvania and Denver, but each time her captor found and beat her.

"She been assaulted and you can tell she had been assaulted so we took her to the hospital," Sgt. Heiden told KSL-TV.

Police say it is likely the woman was being taken to Las Vegas or Los Angeles.

"We've got I-80 that comes directly right into Salt Lake City that meets up with I-15 that then heads to California so this is a thoroughfare and stop if you will," Sgt. Heiden explained.

Heiden says this is the second case like this in the last couple of months, and they fear it won’t be the last: "They will hit cities like Denver or Salt Lake for a very short amount of time, which makes it difficult to catch them, unless the female is able to get away."

Salt Lake City Police say the victim is doing well.

According to a statement last month from Connecticut State Police, Pinnock was arrested there in February as part of an effort to crack down on prostitution before the Super Bowl.


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