Missing teen Aviana Maribell Weaver was found on September 23, according to the Burlington County, New Jersey Prosecutor’s Office. The mother of the missing New Jersey girl feared her daughter had been abducted after seeing the 17-year-old’s photos posted on a human trafficking website.
“Aviana Weaver has been found safe in Philadelphia by the Philadelphia Police Department. She is in the process of being reunited with her family. Out of respect for Aviana and her family, no further details will be released,” a statement released by the prosecutor’s office said.
Aviana was last seen on September 12 and reported missing the following day. “The streets can’t have my daughter!! I will be there everyday on the street until she is home!!!” worried mom Angelica Scarlett wrote in a September 21 Facebook post. Aviana’s mother is using the hashtag #bringavianahome and asking the public to share her daughter’s information.
Aviana is described as bi-racial, standing 5 feet, four inches tall and weighing between 180-200 pounds. She has brown eyes and brown hair. Scarlett said that Aviana has a very distinctive tattoo of hearts wrapped around an antique key on her upper left chest.
She was last seen wearing black jeans, a nude-colored tank top, and leopard slides. The Westhampton Township teen attends Rancocas Valley Regional High School in Mount Holly, New Jersey. Anyone with information is asked to call Westhampton Township Police at (609) 267-8300 or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (800) 843-5678.
Here’s what you need to know about Aviana Weaver.
1. Someone Claiming to Be Aviana Weaver Texted She Was on Her Way Home from School
On September 12, Scarlett received a text message supposedly from Aviana. The message said Aviana was on her way home from school and that she loved her mom. The message, however, was not sent from a number that Scarlett recognized.
Scarlett became concerned when Aviana failed to show up. She said leaving home would be completely out of character for Aviana, who had just started her senior year of high school.
On Saturday, September 14, Scarlett received another text message from an unknown number. The sender said she was Aviana and that she was being held against her will.
2. Angelica Scott Said Pornographic Photos of Aviana Have Been Posted Online
Aviana’s mother revealed that police recently saw her daughter’s photo on a human trafficking website. “We have pornography pictures and my daughter looked completely upset and unhappy in these photos. They believe she is in danger being held against her will. She’s 17 and she looks upset,” Scarlett told New Jersey 101.5.
Police in both Philadelphia and Westhampton Township are not commenting on the case.
3. Aviana Weaver’s Phone Has Been Deactivated
According to Scarlett, police have made attempts to trace Aviana’s cell phone. Her phone last pinged in West Philadelphia near 242 South 49th Street on Sunday, September 15. The phone has since been deactivated.
“That failed. Her phone was there but they’re changing her number constantly. She doesn’t have her number anymore. They’re using flip phones or something,” Scarlett explained.
4. Police and Aviana’s Mother Have Been Searching for the Teen in Philadelphia
Acting on a tip that her daughter might be near Erie and Broad streets in Philadelphia, Scarlett accompanied Philadelphia police officers to the location and began handing out fliers.
“People think they saw her in the area on (September 18). We were there until 1 a.m. but no luck,” Scarlett explained.
She also posted that Aviana may have been seen in the Philadelphia area with a young woman named Genesis. No other information about Genesis has been made available.
On September 19, Scarlett wrote that she is continuing to search for Aviana on foot. “It’s overwhelming I haven’t slept I have just enough energy to do what I’m doing in these “streets” as a mother all day and night here.”
5. The United Stated Ranks among the Worst Countries for Human Trafficking
According to the U.S. Department of State, the United States ranks among the worst in the world for human trafficking. The Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 defines human trafficking as a form of modern-day slavery, describing it as “the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act” by means of “force, fraud, or coercion.”
“The United States is the number one consumer of sex worldwide. So we are driving the demand as a society,” Geoff Rogers, co-founder of the United States Institute Against Human Trafficking told Fox News.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services stated that approximately 300,000 U.S.-born youths are at risk for human trafficking. “We’re also driving the demand with our own people, with our own kids,” Rogers said. “So there are tremendous numbers of kids, a multitude of kids that are being sold as sex slaves today in America,” Rogers explained.