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Federal Way man accused of trafficking Oregon girls, 11 and 15

By Paige Cornwell, The Seattle Times
Published: February 9, 2024, 8:35pm

The 11-year-old wanted to make $1,000. The 15-year-old wanted $150 so she could get her fingernails done. A man called “Sleez” on Instagram told them he could help: If the girls came to Seattle from their homes in rural Oregon, he wrote, it would be “worth it.”

Once he’d driven them from Eastern Oregon to the Seattle area, he’s alleged to have sexually assaulted the 15-year-old, and multiple friends allegedly did the same to the 11-year-old. The next day, he’s accused of taking the girls to Aurora Avenue with instructions for how to prostitute themselves, and abandoning them once he found out they didn’t get any customers.

Those allegations are detailed in court documents charging Ezra Wimana, 25, with human trafficking, rape of a child and promoting commercial sexual abuse of a minor, according to the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. In Washington, children cannot legally consent to sex until age 16.

Bellevue police detectives arrested Wimana on Tuesday, and he remains in King County Jail on $500,000 bail.

The man allegedly contacted the 15-year-old in early January on Instagram and struck up a conversation for a few days before driving with a friend to Pendleton, Ore., where she and the 11-year-old both lived. He picked up the girls and drove nearly 300 miles back to his Federal Way apartment, where the group drank alcohol and smoked marijuana, according to court documents.

He dropped them off the next day on Aurora Avenue, a known hub of prostitution, and told the pair to wave at drivers to entice them. Several men stopped, a Bellevue officer wrote in charging documents, but the girls were too scared to get into their vehicles.

When Wimana learned they hadn’t made any money after 90 minutes, he ceased communication, according to court documents.

Officers in Bellevue found the girls after an Oregon sheriff’s office advised them that the two girls had been reported missing, and one of their Snapchat locations showed a Bellevue home.

The girls were medically evaluated at Seattle Children’s and driven back to Oregon, where they reunited with their families.

Wimana is scheduled to be arraigned Feb. 22 at the King County Courthouse.