Crime & Courts

Man, woman charged with human trafficking of two teenage girls in Wichita

The woman had been staying at the Sunflower Inn on North Broadway for two nights and part of a third day.

But she hadn’t been doing anything wrong, hotel manager Dipak Bhakta said, so he was stunned when he learned that she and a man had been arrested on Thursday on suspicion of human trafficking.

Daniel Tucker, 26, and Shawtaya Shaffer, 23, made their first appearances in Sedgwick County District Court on Tuesday, each charged with two counts of aggravated human trafficking. The complaint alleges Tucker and Shaffer offered two teenage girls for use “in forced labor, involuntary servitude or sexual gratification” between July 10 and 18.

The two girls, ages 16 and 17, were found in the 900 block of North Broadway. One of the girls, a runaway from out of state, was taken to a local hospital for treatment, a police report stated, then was taken to the juvenile intake and assessment center.

Officers discovered crack cocaine in the possession of the other girl, though she said Tucker forced her to hold it for him, according to the police report. The cocaine was seized as evidence. The girl was returned to a parent.

In the 13 years he has managed the hotel, Bhakta said, he’s never seen anything like this. He had seen the man who was arrested come to the woman’s room a few times, he said, but he never noticed any suspicious behavior.

“If we notice something fishy, we just pick up the phone and call the police,” he said. “We have rules.”

The preliminary hearings for both Tucker and Shaffer were set for Aug. 6. They are both being held on $100,000 bonds.