On February 18, Eugene Police Patrol officers responded to a call in the 400 block of E. 15th regarding a shots fired call and possible abduction of juveniles. After arrival, information could not be confirmed but a case was started.
On February 19, Patrol officers responded to a related call regarding two missing/runaway juveniles in their mid teens, who were believed to have been taken to the Portland area for possible trafficking.
At about 5 a.m. on February 20, EPD’s Special Investigations Unit was notified of the incidents and took over the case. SIU worked with parents of the juveniles and Portland Police. Around 6 p.m. on February 20, an SIU detective was able to identify the Portland hotel and room that multiple juveniles, including one of the involved juveniles, were currently in. This information was relayed to Portland Police, who immediately responded to the room and recovered six juvenile females. This included the two runaway/missing juveniles from Eugene and two other juveniles from Eugene. Two adult male subjects were taken into custody. They are still in the process of being identified by name.
A joint investigation with Portland Police is ongoing.
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.