Despite multiple claims of lying, deputies believe trafficking victim

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by Katie Utehs & KREM.com

KREM.com

Posted on May 25, 2012 at 3:04 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 25 at 7:31 PM

SPOKANE-- Several people are speaking out about the alleged sex trafficking victim's credibility.

The woman does have a criminal history involving a case of prostitution, but investigators say it doesn't matter.
   
The 21-year-old Spokane woman at the center of a human trafficking case is being questioned by people who know her.

Her former landlord, Alice Schroeder said, "She had flown to Arizona for a week to do prostituting over there."

One of the four suspects behind bars, Christopher Foster, is accused of holding the woman captive for nearly a year and taking her to Spokane Valley hotels to be sold for sex. "She does what whores do best, sell herself."

KREM 2 news looked up the alleged victim's criminal history. It includes a few traffic infractions, two domestic violence cases, and a case involving prostitution. Sheriff’s deputy Craig Chamberlin said,  " I know that's difficult for some people to get over, but she came to us she took it upon herself to contact us. She wants out of this lifestyle."

Investigators maintain that she was taken advantage of, not physically chained or locked up, but none the less a victim of human trafficking. "It’s more of a mental type captivity to where threats are constantly being provided to that person, intimidation those type of things."

They say her history of prostitution doesn't matter because information she's provided is matching up with evidence."

The woman pointed detectives to a house on Nora Avenue in Spokane Valley. They seized meth and drug pipes, which she told them would be there.

She also told investigators she was forced to smoke meth and when she refused she was burned.

More than a dozen computer hard drives were taken as well. Investigators hope to find a record of the trafficking and potentially more victims.

Until they find more people to come forward, much of the investigation hinges on what the woman has told them.

Spokane County Sheriff's Detectives say the sex trafficking ring could be larger than anyone thinks and they're continuing to look for more potential victims.

The 21-year-old woman who contacted detectives on Tuesday says there are more women like her.

She tells detectives she was held captive for around a year and forced to have sex with multiple men at six different Spokane Valley hotels.

Four people are in custody accused of planning the meetings and transporting the woman.

Chamberlin says the alleged victim may have maintained other relationships during the human trafficking, never letting on about her troubles.

Police had contact with her in March regarding a domestic violence case with a former boyfriend Trevor Lee Franklin.

The report mentions drugs and prostitution but investigators say until Tuesday the woman didn't say enough for a human trafficking case.

Along with her story detectives hope the computer evidence seized may yield a list of other victims.

 

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