A Florida man allegedly lured a 14-year-old girl into his car, then kidnapped her, sexually assaulted her and tried to force her into prostitution.
Gregory Lionel Foster, 28, is among 44 people arrested in operation Holler Back, a three-day sex trafficking sting conducted by Central Florida law enforcement earlier this month. WESH reports that the focus of the operation was to help victims.
Foster faces multiple charges including kidnapping, human trafficking, and lewd and lascivious battery.
The Orlando Sentinel reports that Foster, who connected with the victim on Facebook, met up with her at a gas station in Orlando April 9. He bought her snacks and offered her a ride home, but had no intention of taking her there, authorities said.
"She comes from a different kind of world where people walk to the store and talk to strangers," Lake County Sheriff's Detective Amber Warren, who handled the Foster case, told WESH. "She got in the car, and he never let her out... I think we saved a life."
When the girl got scared and said she wanted to go home, Foster took her to a motel room and raped her, then arranged meetings with would-be johns, according to police.
Foster then drove the victim to a Clermont hotel where he had arranged to have a stranger pay $270 for sex with the underage girl. This all happened within seven hours of the girl's disappearance, police said.
Fortunately, that same hotel was the seat of operation Holler Back. The girl had spoken twice on the phone with a detective posing as a customer to arrange for sex, and she was relieved when Lake County Sheriff's deputies showed up at the hotel.
Lake County Sheriff's Detective Amber Warren, who handled the Foster case, said that the girl's dramatic rescue was "fate."
"I really think we saved her life," Warren told the Orlando Sentinel. "This was the first time she had been prostituted."
Police involved in the operation said that predators are increasingly using the Internet to exploit victims and arrange prostitution. Operation Holler Back had undercover detectives pose as either johns or prostitutes on Internet chat rooms, and arranged meets at the same hotel where Foster's victim was rescued.
"We had johns, we had pimps, we had drivers, and we had prostitutes, so we got the whole gamut," Lake County Sheriff's Lieutenant John Herrell told WFTV.
Hidden cameras captured footage of the busts, some of which was released by police.