HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - A Portsmouth man accused of sex trafficking a 17-year-old girl is being held without bond in the Western Tidewater Regional Jail.
Tuesday, 29-year-old Timothy Williams pleaded not guilty to sex trafficking a minor.
The case started in February with a call to the National Human Trafficking Hotline about a 17-year-old who was possibly being trafficked, according to records.
Records state the tipster said the teenage girl was facing severe physical abuse and was moving around to different hotels.
They say police tracked down the victim, who said she was in a relationship with the suspect, and that she would engage in sexual acts at hotels for money in Norfolk and Virginia Beach after nude ads were posted of her online.
Williams was arrested.
He has another court hearing scheduled for August 27.
Patrick McKenna is the founder of Virginia Beach Justice Initiative, a group that works to combat human trafficking in our region.
He said reporting suspicious behavior can help stop this problem.
The Center for Missing and Exploited Children reports that of the more than 23,500 endangered runaways they saw in 2018, they believe one in seven of them is likely the victim of human sex trafficking.
McKenna said most victims know their abusers and are groomed in some kind of way.
He says this is a major problem in our community.
“It is in our wheelhouse to do something,” said McKenna. “[It] doesn’t have to be everything because nobody can do everything, but everybody can do something.”