MYNORTHWEST NEWS

11 and 15-year-old girls trafficked in Seattle

Feb 11, 2024, 7:00 AM

Bellevue police...

The two girls stayed at a Bellevue home before they were returned to Oregon. (Photo courtesy of Bellevue Police Department)

(Photo courtesy of Bellevue Police Department)

Police say the girls had no idea what was planned for them when they met 25-year-old Ezra Wimana online.

“The intent was that these girls were going to be engaging in prostitution,” Bellevue Police Assistant Chief Andrew Popochock said.

The girls were reported missing on January 7. Police say Wimana drove to an area near Pendleton, Oregon, picked up the girls, and drove back to Seattle and straight to Aurora Avenue, where he forced them to work as prostitutes, but when he was unsatisfied with the girls’ performance, he abandoned them.

After a call from law enforcement in Oregon, the girls were located at a home in Bellevue on January 9.  All in about 48 hours.

Other crime news: Detectives investigating homicide in Yesler Terrace

“This goes quick. When you leave a location, you leave home, you leave that safe place that you’re in and you get into a car, you don’t know where you’re going or what’s going to happen. In 48 hours, many things can happen. In minutes many things can happen. And, in this circumstance, bad things happened,” Bellevue Police Assistant Chief Popochock said.

Following a thorough investigation, Wimana was arrested early this month.

He faces multiple charges, including two counts of trafficking, two counts of promoting commercial sexual abuse of a minor, and one count of rape of a child.

Wimana is in the King County Jail, held on half a million dollars bail.

The girls have been returned to their families in Oregon.

Assistant Chief Popochock said parents have to be diligent.

“Make sure you know what websites your child is accessing, what they’re doing online and make sure we’re educating people about when you go online the person you’re talking to may not be the person you think,” Popochock explained.

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11 and 15-year-old girls trafficked in Seattle