ANKENY, Iowa — An Illinois woman is charged with pimping and human trafficking after she allegedly transported people across state lines for sex at a metro hotel.
Court documents accuse 25-year-old Brittany Walters of bringing four women to the metro after setting up dates, times and locations for men to meet with the victims to pay for sex.
One of those locations was the Quality Inn and Suites on SE Delaware Avenue where Ankeny police arrested Walters and charged her with two counts of pimping and two counts of human trafficking.
A manager at the Quality Inn and Suites told Channel 13’s Laura Barczewski they can’t comment specifically on the case but they are working with police and are still gathering all of the facts.
George Belitsos, the board chair of the Iowa Network Against Human Trafficking (NAHT), said hotels and motels are the number one place trafficking is happening in Iowa.
“They go in and out of these motels all over Iowa and it’s not the shady dumpy motels. It’s usually pretty high class and thought of as family places to go. Those are the best environments for them to hide,” Belitsos said.
Executive Director of Dorothy’s House, an organization that helps female victims of trafficking, Kellie Markey said this is happening in other places besides hotels.
“This crime is happening in every part of our communities,” Markey said.
Belitsos said for the last two years Iowa NAHT has been working with employees of metro hotels and motels to train them to identify signs of trafficking.
“The thing to look for is an older man with a young girl. A lot of coming and going out of the hotel room. A girl that is walking past you and you have suspicions. Doesn’t make eye contact, doesn’t speak when you say ‘hello,’ just keeps going. Anything that looks like this girl is being controlled or is frightened,” Belitsos said.
Belitsos said it’s important if you see something to say something.
“Here in Iowa we estimate that at any given time that there are probably 200 mostly women and children who are being trafficked. In the course of a year, 800 different individuals are being trafficked in Iowa,” Belitsos said.
If you see something suspicious or someone who may be a victim of trafficking, it’s important to call 911 and the National Human Trafficking Hotline 888-373-7888.
Ankeny police say the investigation is ongoing.