An observant police officer rescued a woman from human trafficking in Howard County Thursday morning.
Around 1:30 Thursday police stopped a driver who appeared to be having a medical emergency. Officers suspected the driver, 29-year-old William O. Murray was on drugs and arranged for him to be taken to the hospital.
Officers suspected a 34-year-old woman in the car was a victim of human trafficking.
An investigation found Murray has been trafficking as many as nine women in the area through ads placed on Backpage—a website known to be used for prostitution. He would set up appointments for girls and force them to have sex for money, which he would then take for himself.
Police believe many of the women became dependent on Murray, who supplied them with heroin. He also controlled when the women slept and ate and often forced them to stay awake to engage in prostitution.
Murray was taken into police custody after being released from the hospital. He was charged with human trafficking and prostitution and later released on $15,000 bond.
Police are working with local organizations to provide the victim with emergency assistance, drug treatment and shelter. Authorities believe there may be additional victims.
Anyone with information should call 410-313-STOP or email HCPDcrimetips@howardcountymd.gov.