The Street Crimes Unit is continuing to fulfill its purpose. Yesterday, June 5, detectives from the Eugene Police Department's Special Investigations Unit and officers from the Street Crimes Unit worked a prostitution and human trafficking sting focusing on the purchasers of services.
Officers and detectives posted ads posing as prostitutes on open-source, publicly-accessible websites. During this operation some individuals responded to the ads and three purchasers (johns) actually arrived to meet the detectives. All three were charged with Prostitution. Charged were
Chad Carl Pimentel,
age 31, of Eugene
Paul Nicholas Kwake, age 47, of Eugene
Clark Dean Hill, age 39
Part of this operation also included an officer who posed as a purchaser and responded to ads posted by sex workers. Several sex workers engaged in conversation, but only one arrived. This person was not charged, but instead offered services to assist in getting out of that lifestyle.
Through several investigations, officers and detectives have learned that many of these sex workers are actually being victimized by "pimps". The pimps use several tactics to trap these victims into what many call modern-day slavery. Pimps will find persons of low self-esteem or in a vulnerable state. They groom these women and offer them the perception of a loving/caring relationship and care for them financially. The behavior escalates to coercing the women to perform sex acts with others and then ultimately ends with the threat of or actual use of violence to keep them working.
During interviews many sex workers have talked about the dangers of their profession. Often times sex workers get assaulted and or robbed by the "johns" they agree to meet with and after that if they are controlled by a pimp will face additional consequences for losing money.
If you see the following red flags of trafficking, please call Eugene Police:
A child or adult who:
Has a manager or ‘pimp’
Can’t move freely and appears to be controlled (although some are allowed to go shopping and visit friends, they are closely watched and have restrictions)
If a child, and they are dressed in an inappropriate way for their age to attract customers
Seems fearful, timid and avoid eye contact
Is fearful of police contact
Seems to be in debt to someone
Has signs of abuse (physical and mental), malnourishment, anxiety, bruising, scars, memory issues, lack of medical care
Does not appear to have their own possessions.
Is moved from city to city frequently
Has tattoos or brands that signify ownership
Sex Trafficking predators use psychological techniques and exploit a person’s vulnerabilities. For instance, if a child is desperate to find someone who will love and take care of them. The human trafficker will groom the victim to get their trust. They will provide gifts and give the impression of love and relationship. A child with low self-confidence and self-esteem is especially vulnerable. At the point the trust is gained, they will be coerced into performing sexual acts for money to give the trafficker.
Eugene Police Street Crimes Unit
The SCU has been focusing on prolific offenders, who are identified through intelligence-based policing, public tips and other sources. They have been proactively responding across the city to quality of life issues as they arise, using all available resources and partners such as community groups, neighborhood associations and city services.
The unit makes a dynamic difference in a variety of public safety issues including on emerging crimes and neighborhood livability issues. This team creates capacity within the organization to address and solve problems throughout the city of Eugene. SCU is a tangible outcome of the one-time,18-month bridge funding by Eugene City Council that is dedicated to targeting immediate and acute community safety system issues while working toward mission-critical enhancements that need to be addressed through a longer-term and broader community safety initiative. The unit currently consists of a lieutenant, a sergeant and four officers. The team will expand to include another sergeant and four additional officers as staffing allows.