SLO police free 15-year-old girl from forced prostitution

July 30, 2015
Brianna Day Morales

Brianna Day Morales

San Luis Obispo police rescued a 15-year-old girl from forced labor as a prostitute and arrested three suspects on human trafficking charges Tuesday.

Both the girl and the primary suspect, a 16-year-old male, are from Manteca, a Central Valley city. Detectives believe the male juvenile, whom they are not identifying, forced the girl into acts of prostitution in cities north of San Luis Obispo, as well as throughout SLO County, according to a SLOPD news release.

The other two suspects, Brianna Day Morales and Fabio Bettencourt Silveira, are both 20-year-old residents of Chico. Investigators determined Morales and Silveira were involved in the conspiracy to force the victim into prostitution.

Police officers found the girl in a hotel room in the 1800 block of Monterey Street around 1:30 p.m. They searched the hotel after receiving a call from the Manteca Police Department reporting she was being held there against her will.

When officers found the victim, she was alone and terrified. She was then transported to the police department and given attention from qualified professionals.Fabio Bettencourt Silveira

Later, the teenage girl was reunited with her family.

The victim had been in SLO County since Saturday, according to the press release. She had been traveling with the 16-year-old male.

Around 3:20 p.m. Tuesday, Morales was spotted as a passenger in a vehicle traveling in the 200 block Santa Rosa Street. Officers stopped the vehicle and took her into custody without incident.

Around 4:05 p.m., Silveira and the 16-year-old suspect returned to the hotel on Monterey Street. Officers took them into custody

The teenage boy and Morales are both charged with human trafficking, abduction for purposes of prostitution, false imprisonment and criminal conspiracy. Morales also faces a charge of child endangerment.

Silveira is charged with human trafficking and criminal conspiracy.

Officers booked the 16-year-old in the juvenile services center. Morales and Silveira were booked in San Luis Obsipo County Jail.

Silveira remains in jail with bail set at $70,000.

Morales’s bail was set at $100,000. As of Thursday morning, she is no longer in custody, according to the jail website.

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Matt, actually, you’re incorrect. Almost all prostitutes start out as being victimized by the pimp. They have to be “turned out” and that is done by abuse.

It is very prevalent for victims to be approached in malls and the like, by a team of criminals. As I stated, they look for vulnerable people with offers of acting, modeling, even porn work then it turns out much worse.

This criminal activity is simple a part of the bigger network of gang activity covering both outlaw motorcycle “club” as well as Latino and Black criminal organizations that collect the money and control the pawns who are the pimps and women forced into this slavery.

Women are targeted by people, usually a couple to make the victim feel at ease, and often approached in public spaces about photography or something. Once in their control, they set about making money off the victim after raping them. The rapes have the effect of causing shame in an already strained relationship with parents, so they feel helpless to get help when they have maybe made inappropriate choices before being kidnapped.

The 20yr old woman was likely under some fear as well…and the dude is likely associated with a bigger network of gang activity of some type as well.

Cases like you describe are EXTREMELY rare and should not be used to form an overall view of the problem. This is the same kind of nonsense that law enforcement peddled for years about drug “pushers.” Certainly these people exist, but for the most part that is just not how life works, it’s not reality. Often these stories are reinforced by people who are lying because they don’t want to get in trouble for choices they have made.

It leads to misunderstanding, demonization, marginalization of people creating even more disenfranchised people with the potential to become life long criminals, and failure of people who may be both perpetrator as well as victim to accept responsibility for their own actions.