Three missing teen girls were rescued and a man and woman were arrested in a human trafficking sting in Long Beach, officials said Friday.
The three victims — ages 15, 16 and 17 — were reported missing from Long Beach, San Bernardino and Hemet, respectively, the Long Beach Police Department said in a news release.
The investigation began Aug. 13, when detectives arranged to meet a minor being prostituted near the 100 block of 28th Street, authorities said.
Once in privacy with the girl, detectives say they received consent to search the girl’s phone, where they found information about the two other victims, who were later located on Aug. 14 and Aug. 26.
The teens reported that they were forced into prostitution by a man named Mycal Ruff, and they were managed on his behalf by a woman named Dezere Romero, according to the Police Department.
Investigators say evidence indicates one of the girls was trafficked across state lines.
Ruff, a 32-year-old Carson resident, was arrested Aug. 28 on suspicion of false imprisonment and human trafficking. Inmate records show he was released two days later after being held on $450,000 bail.
Romero, 21, of San Bernardino, was taken into custody Thursday on suspicion of human trafficking and prostitution. She remained in custody Friday on $470,000 bail, according to the booking records.
The victims were provided with recovery services through the Los Angeles County Law Enforcement First Responder Protocol for Commercially Sexually Exploited Children, police said.