Kyle and Brooke Morris, parents of a 15-year-old girl who left the Dallas Mavericks arena with an unidentified man back in April are speaking out about the dangers of human trafficking. Police found the girl in Oklahoma and she is now undergoing treatment to deal with her trauma.
“We just want to make sure people understand … that something like this can happen to anyone anywhere,” Kyle Morris said. “Even if you don’t think it’s possible, there’s people out there that they want to make it happen.”
Kyle and Brooke say their daughter is safe but she will need significant treatment. Because she is 15 her name is not being released, but she has given her parents permission to discuss the case in public.
The Morrises are Mavericks season-ticket holders, and said that on the night of the April 8th game against the Portland Trail Blazers, he and his stepdaughter were in the Platinum level of the arena. Just before halftime, his daughter left him to use the bathroom. When she didn’t return, he notified security, and they searched the restrooms and inside the arena.
Police say they found the girl on the side of a road in Oklahoma City 10 days after her stepfather reported her missing from American Airlines Center in Dallas. She had been taken to an Oklahoma City hotel, where she was sexually assaulted multiple times, starved and not allowed to bathe, according to her parents and their lawyer.
Her treatment and the manner in which she left the arena brings the issue of human trafficking to the forefront. Of course human trafficking is illegal. It is the exploitation of another person for labor, domestic servitude or commercial sexual activity by force, fraud or coercion.
According to UNITAS, an estimated 400,000 people are currently living in modern day slavery in the U.S. — which includes labor trafficking and sex trafficking, as well as debt bondage and forced marriage.
The Morris’ say their daughter told them she saw other girls from Oklahoma.
“And she said, ‘I wonder how long they have been in this life, but no one looked for them,'” Brooke Morris said.
The family’s attorney Zeke Fortenberry reviewed the surveillance video from the American Airlines Center and it didn’t appear the daughter was taken by force.
“What happened to the unnamed teen after she walked away from the American Airlines Center facilities on April 8, 2022, is tragic, and the American Airlines Center and Dallas Mavericks are glad she is now safe and wish her well on her road to recovery,” said a statement provided by lawyer Scott C. Thomas, responding on behalf of the American Airlines Center and the Mavericks. “The American Airlines Center has no evidence that any trafficking group has been in the arena at any time, including with respect to this incident.”
Somehow, the Morris’ daughter was persuaded to leave the American Airlines Center in Dallas and she wound up in Oklahoma.
The authorities did make eight arrests and charged each with human trafficking and rape. Morris’ daughter’s abduction is considered part of a human trafficking ring that was exposed by The Oklahoma Police Department.