HAYWARD -- A tip from a 14-year-old Union City girl forced to work as a prostitute enabled detectives to bust a sex-trafficking ring this week and arrest two suspected pimps, police said.
Ronnie Mack Brown, 23, of San Francisco, and Najee Thompson, 20, of Hayward, were arrested on suspicion of kidnapping, pimping and pandering, human trafficking and oral copulation after the incident that began last week in Richmond and later led to a Hayward motel, Hayward police Sgt. Mark Ormsby said Friday.
The arrests came the same week Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley announced a public awareness campaign to combat human sex trafficking and the sexual exploitation of children.
O'Malley's office partnered with Clear Channel Outdoor to blanket prostitution hot spots with billboards and bus shelter ads that aim to raise awareness about the epidemic of child prostitution,
The operation that ended in arrests in Hayward this week unfolded Jan. 3 after a Richmond police officer noticed a 14-year-old girl he knew walking in an area known to be frequented by prostitutes, Ormsby said.
The officer started a conversation with the girl, who said she'd run away from home and that two men in a Hayward motel had kidnapped her and forced her to be a prostitute. Hayward police confirmed that the girl's family reported her missing to Union City police Jan. 3.
After being contacted by Richmond police, Hayward officers visited the Phoenix Lodge on Industrial Parkway on Wednesday,¿ where they found two men standing in the parking lot.
The men matched the description of the suspects, Ormsby said, and were identified by the 14-year-old girl. He said the men were suspected of running a sex-trafficking ring out of motel rooms at the Phoenix Lodge.
Police also found two other women in the motel, a 21-year-old from Sacramento and a 22-year-old from Bay Point who had been forced to work the streets.
Hayward police Sgt. Eric Melendez said the suspects were committing sex acts with some of the victims, in addition to sending them out to work as prostitutes.
Melendez said the victims told police they'd been at the motel since Jan. 4, but it was not known how long they had been working the streets for the men.
Police on Friday were investigating if more victims were involved and said the 14-year-old girl was in the custody of Child Protective Services.
Anyone with information about this case is asked to call Hayward police at 510-293-7000 or their anonymous tip line: 510-293-7197
Contact Natalie Neysa Alund at 510-293-2469. Follow her at Twitter.com/nataliealund.