FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The recent arrest of a Fayetteville man accused of employing three minors to engage in sexual activity for money is bringing to light that human trafficking does happen even in your hometown.

The reality of this is that it exists everywhere. It exists in Northwest Arkansas. It’s in Fayetteville, it’s in Springdale. It’s everywhere.

KEVIN METCALF, NATIONAL CHILD PROTECTION TASK FORCE CEO & FOUNDER

Lexus Deshawn Hobbs, 23, was arrested on Thursday, January 28, on three counts of trafficking minors.

He was released from the Washington County Detention Center on Saturday, January 30, after posting a nearly $55,000 bail.

Anybody can be a human trafficker. 

KEVIN METCALF, NATIONAL CHILD PROTECTION TASK FORCE CEO & FOUNDER

Washington County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, Kevin Metcalf, is the founder and CEO of the National Child Protection Task Force.

He said human trafficking in the NWA area is not that surprising.

“For drugs, you can only sell a drug once,” he said. “For a person, you can sell that person countless times a day.” 

He said especially since there are many misconceptions on what human trafficking looks like.

“People tend to think human trafficking is where these people are pulled into a van and they just disappear and there taken somewhere and held as slaves, that’s not the way this looks,” he said. “For the most part we have kids that are being trafficked out of their own home, they’re not out on the streets every night.”

In Hobbs’ case, the investigation started after one of the victims came forward to the FBI.

Metcalf said while this helps bring justice to those responsible, when it comes to helping the victims it’s highly complex for a number of reasons including — drug addiction and homelessness.

There’s no one size fits all here. It varies widely.

KEVIN METCALF, NATIONAL CHILD PROTECTION TASK FORCE CEO & FOUNDER

There are resources available locally, though.

If you or someone you know may be a victim of human trafficking, please go to any of the following links below for help: