BTBuzz: Pittsburg, Ca. woman makes it her mission to rescue human trafficking victims

By Claire Coleman

Pittsburg Police Civilian Service Specialist Louise Reeves is an incredible example of going above and beyond. Reeves joined the Pittsburg Police in 2005, when most of her work revolved around missing-children cases and regulating sex offenders. But six years ago, one case changed the future of her career.

It was a runaway teen case in which a young girl left home for three weeks, but stayed in touch with her family. When she was found in a motel several counties away, Reeves immediately noticed red flags. After further investigation, officials discovered that the girl was a victim of human trafficking, and Reeves was able to file a case against the men responsible.

Reeves may not be a detective, but her fierce determination and incredible empathy have gained the recognition of seasoned investigators and county leaders, who have singled out Reeves for awards and recognitions several times. She is often brought into outside investigations that don’t directly affect Pittsburg, and authorities credit her with helping hundreds of at-risk youth over the years.

“Reeves goes above and beyond, she puts herself into her work … she uses all the intelligence that’s out there and is able to put the pieces together,” Aron DeFerrari, a county deputy district attorney told The Reporter. “It’s something that honestly we need a lot more of, I wish there were 10 Louises out there.”

Sadly, human trafficking is often able to hide in plain sight. But Reeves is determined to bring it to light. She sees its victims and knows them all. She remembers their faces, their stories, and even their tattoos.

As traffickers increase their use of social media, the issue broadens in scope and cases become harder to solve. A Fresno police investigator recently made the shocking public claim that every 16-year-old girl in the city had been solicited by sex traffickers.

But with these staggering statistics comes a ray of hope: There are many like Reeves, nationwide, determined to bring justice and healing to these young victims.