http://www.digitaljournal.com/news/crime/nc-man-charged-with-human-trafficking-holding-woman-captive/article/386168

NC man charged with human trafficking, holding woman captive

Posted Jun 10, 2014 by Megan Hamilton
A North Carolina man has been charged with human trafficking after allegedly holding a German woman against her will in a secret room located in a warehouse in Zebulon, North Carolina.
Mugshot of Robert Whiteside.
Mugshot of Robert Whiteside.
Police handout
Robert Whiteside, 45, is being held on charges of sexual servitude involving an adult victim and assault by strangulation, the Daily Mail reports. Whiteside is being held on a $250,000 bond in the Wake County jail. He is scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday.
The woman was able to access a computer in the warehouse and emailed her ex-husband. He contacted Zebulon police on Monday morning.
Police officers met Whiteside at the warehouse and were able to locate the woman. She told officers that she arrived in the states on June 4, and that she’d been physically and sexually assaulted and stripped of her finances. Police say she was kept in a secret bedroom, located behind a closet wall inside the warehouse, according to ABC News.
More charges may be filed as the case unfolds, police say.
It appears that Whiteside and the woman began chatting online after she responded to a personal ad he placed, said Zebulon Police Chief Tim Hayworth. Officers found airplane ticket stubs that showed Whiteside paid for her to come to the U.S.
“She responded and found herself in a situation a lot worse than she expected,” Hayworth said, according to the Daily Mail.
She reportedly told police she had been sexually assaulted and that money, credit cards, and her phone had been taken from her. Police officials went inside the warehouse, which is where Whiteside refurbishes bathtubs. They located the secret bedroom and also found weapons, police said.
Police say they don’t believe there are any other victims, and the woman is in good health and has been moved to a safe house, ABC News reports.
For women and girls, meeting someone online is definitely risky business, as one 13-year-old girl in Plainview, Texas found out.
According to MyPlainView.com, the girl reported that she met another girl on Facebook and that the two scheduled a time and place to meet at a local hotel.
The girl, accompanied by her sister and her boyfriend, went to the motel, where she was greeted by a man in a room. She asked where the new friend was, and the man said she was in the shower. The girl heard the shower running and headed to the bathroom only to find out that the other girl wasn’t there. When she started to leave the bathroom, the man reportedly grabbed her and tried to cover her mouth with tape. She told the man that her sister was waiting for her outside, and then he let her go.
Christopher Scott Phillips, 26, was indicted on charges of alleged online solicitation of a minor and unlawful restraint less than 17 years of age by the grand jury in regards to the case, according to this article.
Fortunately, there are ways to stay safe if a woman decides to give online dating a try. Women shouldn’t post contact information — and that includes phone numbers, home addresses, and email addresses, according to this article. If the woman plans to meet someone, she can meet the person in a public place. The article also recommends that the woman drive to the place or plan her own transportation. She should also tell friends and family members where she’s going and when she expects to be home.
Meeting a stranger online is risky business and too many women take chances with it.