Two men are in custody on suspicion of sex trafficking three girls ages 15, 16 and 17, who were listed as missing persons in Long Beach, San Bernardino and Hemet, respectively, authorities said Friday.
On Aug. 13, police detectives started investigating the prostitution of a minor near the 100 block of 28th Street, near Veterans Park, according to the Long Beach Police Department.
Detectives met with the teen and were given consent to search her phone, which led them to two other juvenile trafficking victims, who were located by detectives on Aug. 14 and Aug. 26, police said.
“The victims relayed to detectives that they were forced to perform prostitution acts for a pimp named Brandon Ruff,” according to a LBPD statement, which alleges Ruff “was aided by Dezere Romero, who helped manage the minors on his behalf.”
Ruff, 32, of Carson, was arrested Aug. 28 on suspicion on false imprisonment and human trafficking, according to police. He’s being held on $450,000 bail.
Romero, 21, of San Bernardino, was arrested Thursday on suspicion of human trafficking of a victim under 18 and prostitution. He’s being held on $470,000 bail, police said.
“The victims who were identified by detectives were provided with victim-centered services through the Los Angeles County First Responder Protocol for Sexually Exploited Children,” police said.
One of the victims may have been trafficked across state lines, according to police.