Street Crimes Unit Targets Prostitution and Human Trafficking
The Street Crimes Unit has been operating less than a month and is continuing to fulfill its purpose, this time by working a prostitution and human trafficking sting focusing on the purchasers of services on Tuesday, April 2.
Street Crimes Unit worked in tandem with two EPD investigation units and contacted seven females for prostitution, and contacted four purchasers (johns) for Solicitation of Prostitutes. One of the prostitutes was in possession of heroin and another had cocaine in her possession. Many prostitutes work for pimps and there are considerable safety issues for them. Prostitution is dangerous and risky for both the prostitutes and ‘johns’ and has ties to human trafficking. (see information, below on how to spot potential trafficking)
Contacted for Solicitation of Prostitution were:
Matthew Sreedhar Thakkun, age 31, of Eugene
Daniel Carl Zigler, age 62
Diwaker Agarwal, age 47
Raymond Gary Hambrick, age 50
Eugene Police and the Lane County District Attorney’s office have taken a strong stance against Promoting and Compelling Prostitution. EPD’s human trafficking detectives have worked with LCDA office toward several successful prosecutions in recent years. These types of human trafficking offenders often subject their victims forced servitude and violence, and the victims are prevented from coming forward due to fear and intimidation.
The SCU has been focusing on prolific offenders, who are identified through intelligence-based policing, public tips and other sources. They have been proactively responding across the city to quality of life issues as they arise, using all available resources and partners such as community groups, neighborhood associations and city services.
The unit makes a dynamic difference in a variety of public safety issues including on emerging crimes and neighborhood livability issues. This team creates capacity within the organization to address and solve problems throughout the city of Eugene. SCU is a tangible outcome of the one-time,18-month bridge funding by Eugene City Council that is dedicated to targeting immediate and acute community safety system issues while working toward mission-critical enhancements that need to be addressed through a longer-term and broader community safety initiative. The unit currently consists of a lieutenant, a sergeant and four officers. The team will expand to include another sergeant and four additional officers as staffing allows.
If you see the following red flags of trafficking, please call Eugene Police:
A child or adult who:
Has a manager or ‘pimp’
Can’t move freely and appears to be controlled (although some are allowed to go shopping and visit friends, they are closely watched and have restrictions)
If a child, and they are dressed in an inappropriate way for their age to attract customers
Seems fearful, timid and avoid eye contact
Is fearful of police contact
Seems to be in debt to someone
Has signs of abuse (physical and mental), malnourishment, anxiety, bruising, scars, memory issues, lack of medical care
Does not appear to have their own possessions.
Is moved from city to city frequently
Has tattoos or brands that signify ownership
Sex Trafficking predators use psychological techniques and exploit a person’s vulnerabilities. For instance, if a child is desperate to find someone who will love and take care of them. The human trafficker will groom the victim to get their trust. They will provide gifts and give the impression of love and relationship. A child with low self-confidence and self-esteem is especially vulnerable. At the point the trust is gained, they will be coerced into performing sexual acts for money to give the trafficker.