Quick investigating and alert patrol officers led to the arrest of two Long Beach men believed to be responsible for the kidnapping and forced prostitution of at least three women.
Lebrette Winn, 22, and Eric Avery, 24, were arrested in the area of Pine Ave. and Bay St. near the Pike at Rainbow Harbor on Thursday, May 16, less than 24 hours after two of their victims escaped captivity in Culver City and fled to nearby Hawthorne.
According to the Long Beach Police Department, their investigation began when the department was contacted by the Hawthorne Police Department regarding two adult females who said they had been kidnapped in Long Beach and had been forced to perform acts of prostitution by the suspects.
"The Long Beach Police Department immediately initiated an in-depth, multi-day investigation, learning that one of the two victims had been held against her will for as long as approximately four months," said a LBPD press release on the arrests. "During the time they were held, they were forced to perform acts of prostitution throughout Los Angeles and Orange Counties, and one of them was sexually assaulted by one of the suspects."
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Last week, Winn was charged with nine felony counts while two felony couns were filed against Avery. Police say those charges include human trafficking, pimping, pandering, mayhem, kidnapping and "other charges relating to sexually based offenses."
The investigation was a joint effort between detectives in the Vice Investigations Detail, the Sex Crimes Detail, and patrol officers, followed by several days of relentless follow-up investigation.
"The Long Beach Police Department is committed to combating human trafficking and will continue to work with law enforcement partners to identify those responsible and hold them accountable," the department said in a release.
Anyone who is or has been a victim of human trafficking is urged to come forward by contacting the Long Beach Police Department’s Vice Investigations Detail at (562) 570-7219. Any victim in need of resources is also encouraged to contact detectives.