Mother helps bust human trafficking ring

They used Backpage and Craigslist to market girls

(CNN) – Its sounds like the set-up for a movie, but it really happened. A Washington state mother found out her daughter was a part of a human trafficking ring and went to extremes to get her back.

22-year-old Michael Williams II is considered a main player in a regional human trafficking ring. Williams and co-defendant Curtis Escalante were arrested a month ago. Investigators have uncovered at least two teenage victims, and believe there could be more.

It’s Williams’ younger brother Mikael that detectives are seeking the public’s help in finding.

Charging papers say the three operated a sophisticated human trafficking ring using motels along the I-5 corridor mainly in Tacoma, but stretching from Everett through Olympia.

They use the marketing website Backpage and Craigslist to market the girls for sex.

The mother of one of those victims found her daughter’s photo on Backpage and took it upon herself to get her daughter back.

Lt. Ron Mead of the WSP Exploited and Missing Children Task Force said, “She really kind of did her own sting and located the hotel they were using and set up a ‘meet’ and recovered her daughter.”

Police say the ring occasionally operated out of one Tacoma hotel. She called the number listed, asked how much she could get for $200, and was told where to come.

The mother was able to retrieve her daughter, and then lead police to two of the suspects, Williams and Escalante.

Now they want Williams’ brother behind bars.

The state patrol says it’s a trafficking ring that could have gone undetected, if not for the actions of the mother.

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.”

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