Human Trafficking in Springdale

NORTHWEST ARKANSAS -- Police arrested 21-year-old Gregory Gibson at the Economy Inn Motel in Springdale on Wednesday after police received reports of prostitution.

Lieutenant Derek Hudson with Springdale Police Department said "when most people think of human trafficking, they are thinking of it on an international level or even across state lines."

According to Springdale Police, "she met an older man on Facebook. They had a short relationship together and he convinced her to work as a prostitute."

Investigators say Gibson was transporting the 16-year-old runaway from Fort Smith to different motels in Northwest Arkansas and using her for sex, but then keeping the money. Lieutenant Hudson said there is a fine line between promoting prostitution and trafficking. "This is different because the girl is a minor, he is enticing a minor to engage in this sexual enterprise and taking all of the proceeds and all that so this goes beyond that into a trafficking charge which is a far more serious offense."

Hudson said cases like this might be shocking because it's occuring behind closed doors. "People think if they don't see that that it may not be going on and we are well aware that it is."

Though cases like this may be rare for Northwest Arkansas, Hudson said when it does happen, police are trained and prepared to handle it. "We do various sting operations and investigations because we are well aware of the situation whether it is out on the internet, through Craigslist or web sites in addition to local escort services or a variety of things that are illegal with prostitution. I have a lot of confidence that they are prepared to handle this. We have a lot of detectives prepared to handle this," Hudson said.

According to police, there was also an 18-year-old female at the hotel with Gibson when he was arrested. Gregory Gibson was booked into the Washington County Jail on January 30, 2014 for Human Trafficking, contributing to delinquency, and possession of a controlled substance.

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