Tuscaloosa Woman Accused of Human Trafficking of Missing Girl Rescued at Local Hotel
A Tuscaloosa woman was arrested after police determined she was involved with the human trafficking of a juvenile girl who was rescued from a local hotel in May.
In a deposition filed on Wednesday and obtained by the Tuscaloosa Thread, officers with the West Alabama Human Trafficking Task Force said they were called to a Tuscaloosa hotel on May 19 in regards to a welfare check of a child.
According to the deposition, hotel staff informed officers of a woman, later identified as 23-year-old Markita Keyuna Latisha Tidwell, who reportedly used a vehicle to bring the juvenile girl to the hotel but the left the area before officers could make contact.
Officers later connected with the girl, who had allegedly been linked to ads for commercial sex. They later learned the girl was a missing person who traveled from another state and credited the hotel staff with saving her from being trafficked further.
Hotel surveillance video showed Tidwell exiting the vehicle with the girl, who went inside and reserved a room for the girl. The juvenile later said she was made to give the older woman, Tidwell, $100 to pay for the cost of the room.
This wasn't the first time Tidwell caught the task force's eye, either -- during an undercover operation in April 2022, officers made direct contact with Tidwell, who was reportedly involved with commercial sex at that time also.
The investigation eventually revealed the sex ads for Tidwell and others for the juvenile girl were placed in the same cities and listed the same contact number.
A search warrant for car in question revealed items belonging to both Tidwell and the girl, giving officers probable cause indicating Tidwell was responsible for facilitating the girl's commercial sex involvement.
Tidwell was charged with first-degree human trafficking. She was booked into the Tuscaloosa County Jail on Tuesday where she is being held on $60,000 bond.