This article is about a girl named Stephany Pineda, who disappeared about 4 months ago. On December 14, 2010, Stephany was running late for school. After hurrying to get to school on time, she left for the bus stop but never made it to school. Stephany was last seen by a family friend, riding off in a car with two men.
It is not certain, but a great fear of her mother Karla Lopez is that Stephany has become a victim of the sex trafficking industry. She told the reporters that Stephany was a good student, a caring daughter and a loving sibling. My heart really hurts for this mother. I can’t imagine having a daughter disappear with no answers and no closure. I pray she finds peace as she fears for her daughter’s safety and well being.
There have been no significant developments leading to solving the case of Stephany’s disappearance except one. Karla was told a man named Leonardo Guerrero may have information leading to her daughter’s whereabouts. She then obtained his address and went to his apartment where she interrogated him about her daughter. When she arrived and she asked, he attempted to slam the door in her face but she caught it with her foot blocking it from being shut. He then grasped her neck with his hands and forced her against the wall.
Karla left frantically and told authorities of this event. They went back to his apartment where the door was a jar and no sign of Guerrero. There is now a warrant out for his arrest for assault and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
This article also goes into some details about trafficking in North Carolina.
- North Carolina is ranked as the 8th state in human trafficking!
- Many victims (mostly young girls and women) are brought here thinking they are going to have a better life, then sold or forced into sex slavery.
- North Carolina is an easy target for trafficking since there are several interstates. It is also a short drive from larger international airport hubs such as Atlanta.
This articles goes into detail about what I discussed in my last post; the increase in trafficking in the Hispanic community. According to this article, Hispanic communities are a high target for many reasons. Some of these reasons are language barrier, cultural differences and fear.
Important statistics mentioned in this article:
- People can be bought for as little as $130.
- A $30 “trick” can add up to $75,000 to $250,000 for a pimp.
- The U.S. State Department estimates 14,500 to 17,500 people are trafficked into this country each year. Of these, more than 80 percent are women and 70 percent of them are forced into the commercial sex trade.
- The United States is the second highest destination in the world for trafficked women.
- The FBI estimates approximately 23 percent of those trafficked into the United States arrive in the Southeast.
- Persons trafficked into North Carolina are from the following ethnicities: 61 percent Hispanic, 18 percent African-American, followed by a growing percentage of Asians.
Have you seen Stephany Pineda or Leonardo Guerrero:
Lincolnton Police would like anyone with tips to call 704-736-8900.
Anonymous calls can be made to Crime Stoppers at 704-736-8909.