Determined mother saves her runaway daughter from human trafficking ring
On Wednesday, authorities in Tacoma, Washington, released details of how a determined mother did her own detective work and rescued her daughter from a regional human trafficking ring.
The mother of a runaway teen found her daughter’s picture on a Backpage.com website. Next, she set up her own undercover sting, by calling the number listed to ask how much she could get for $200. The person who answered, was unaware that the particular girl she was asking about was her own daughter. He told her what hotel to go to for a ‘meet and greet’ with the girl. The mother went to the location and was able to rescue her daughter. Once she had her daughter safely out of harm’s way, she shared the information she had uncovered and that lead police to busting one of the most sophisticated human trafficking rings in the region. This ring operated up and down the I-5 corridor from Everett to Olympia. Their main base of operation was in Tacoma.
22-year-old Michael Williams II is considered the main force behind the trafficking ring that he ran with Curtis Escalante. They were both arrested a month ago and the police went undercover to find the 18-year-old brother of Williams. On Tuesday, police arrested Mikael Williams of Tacoma, and were able to uncover two more teenage victims. Authorities believe that there are many other victims of this particular ring that haven’t been found.
Williams and his co-defendants were able to run this ring through the use of the marketing websites Craigslist and Backpage. If you go to Backpage.com and click on any city, you can then click on the adult section which traffickers use to advertise girls that are available for escort services. Most of these girls do not look like the posted age and no one checks if any of it is factual. Former NBA player, Greg Anthony was recently arrested after he saw an ad in Backpage and arranged a meeting with one of the escorts. The ad had been placed by undercover officers trying to cut down on the people who use Backpage for this reason.
The Washington Exploited and Missing Children Task Force commends this mother for the extremes she went through to recover her daughter safely. Lt. Ron Mead said, “As a result of that contact, had it not been for the mother’s involvement, we certainly wouldn’t have been aware of it as quickly as we were, and may not have been aware of it all.”