GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — A woman is in the Guilford County jail after being charged with numerous crimes, including human trafficking.
According to court records, Ashley Christine Greene, 36, was charged with nine counts of first-degree sexual exploitation of a minor, one count of promoting prostitution, and one count of human trafficking.
Warrants state that in June of last year, Greene photographed a teenage victim and posted the photographs on “commercial sex advertisements” and arranged a situation where the minor participated in prostitution.
The nine charges of exploitation read that Greene facilitated a minor to engage in sexual activity, “posing unclothed together” for the purpose of taking pictures.
First-degree sexual exploitation of a minor occurs when an adult facilitates an underage person to perform in a sexual nature or produces recordings or photos of an underage person in sexual situations. Human trafficking stems from anyone who has another person “held in involuntary servitude or sexual servitude.” The charge of promoting prostitution refers to the act of compelling another person to engage in prostitution or profiting off of another person engaging in prostitution.
North Carolina-funded sexual assault agencies served 368 human trafficking victims from July 2020 to June 2021, the NCHTC reports citing the North Carolina Department of Administration. In 2020, the state convicted all three federal sex trafficking defendants. RAINN states that, in 2019, 60% of offenders were people who were known to the victim and held a position of trust with them such as a coach or a family member.
Greene’s bond is $500,000.
It’s not the type of human trafficking we see in movies involving kidnapping and crossing borders. Local anti-human trafficking advocates said this is the more common form taking place in our communities every day.
“We do see human trafficking happening in every neighborhood across the United States, so if you think it’s not happening where you live, unfortunately, you’re most likely wrong,” said Brianna Racchini, executive director at Triad Ladder of Hope.
North Carolina is ranked ninth in the country for human trafficking.
“Human trafficking happens to every gender, every ethnicity, every age,” Racchini said.
Triad Ladder of Hope is an organization working to end human trafficking in our region. Racchini said one common misconception is traffickers work in rings.
“Sometimes we do see large groups with like the cartel or something like that, but often it’s individuals,” she said. “It’s very small groups. Maybe one or two people that are being trafficked.”
That’s what we’re seeing in the Piedmont Triad.
“There are apps and websites where you can post solicitations discretely in ways that aren’t directly obvious to the everyday person, but if you know what to look for … you can find it online,” Racchini said.
Racchini said it might not seem like much, but even one human trafficking arrest empowers other victims to speak up and raises awareness.
“It shows the reality of trafficking happening here,” she said. “Unfortunately, people don’t really want to believe that trafficking can happen in their neighborhood, but we see cases like this where it proves that … it does happen.”
There are some signs you can look out for to spot human trafficking like bruising and broken bones or changes in behavior. Traffickers often brand their victims, so they might have tattoos of bar codes, gang signs, or money symbols.
If you feel you’re a victim or know of human trafficking taking place, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or text “BE FREE” to 233-733.