Police say Medford is a stop on a sex-trafficking circuit

Medford, Ore. — We’re learning more about an apparent sex trafficking case in Medford.

A man was arrested on trafficking charges Friday after a standoff with police.

Investigators say the woman with him may have been trafficked in several states.

Detective Jim Williams with Medford Police says there are websites selling sex in Medford everyday.

But due to the transient nature of sex traffickers and their victims, a case like Friday’s is one to take note of.

“Getting victims help really varies based on each individual victim,” domestic trafficking expert Rebecca Bender said.

Rebecca Bender is an expert in domestic trafficking.

She’s also the creator of the Rebecca Bender Initiative — an organization offering help to sex trafficking victims.

“You have to identify the type of exploitation, if they do have a great support system at home that we can re-locate them to, if they need to go into residential treatment because they don’t have good support at home,” Bender said.

One of Bender’s most recent clients is a 20-year-old who police found on Friday.

Medford Police say the young woman reached out to a friend, who then called her mother in California, and her mother called MPD.

“I think that we get an idea of what’s operating here in Medford,” Bender said.

Jim Williams is a detective with Medford Police.

He says the victims and the traffickers are mostly being brought in from other states.

But it’s become clear Medford – a prime location right off of I-5 – is on a sex trafficking circuit.

“Ya know, on their way from San Francisco to Portland, Medford’s a really great in between spot,” Bender said.

While it’s apparent sex trafficking exists in Medford, Detective Williams says the outcome of this particular case isn’t common.

“It’s unusual in the sense that the victim in this case actually sought help,” Detective Williams said.

Bender says it sets a good example for others to learn from.

“It’s easier to reach out to a potentially trusted friend… who in this situation we’re really thankful that the friend knew to maybe call an adult, get law enforcement involved, get a parent involved… and we’re hopeful that this helps send a message to other young people. Especially ages 18 to 24 which is a really prime trafficking age,” Bender said.

Police say the community can help by knowing what to look for.

Signs of potential human trafficking include vehicles with out-of-state plates carrying multiple women, or many people visiting the same hotel room.

If you ever see anything suspicious, please notify law enforcement.

NBC5 News Multimedia Journalist Elizabeth Ruiz was raised in Northern Colorado. She graduated from Colorado State University with a degree in Journalism and Media Communication. She also minored in Spanish and studied in Spain. While at Colorado State, she was an anchor and reporter for CTV Channel 11.

Elizabeth loves Zumba dancing, singing and spending time with her family.

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