Portland FBI looking for dangerous sex trafficking suspects

Sex trafficking suspects wanted by FBI

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The FBI is asking for help finding two men suspected of taking a child from Portland to Seattle for sex trafficking purposes.

Both men should be considered armed and dangerous.

A federal grand jury indicted 33-year-old Aaron M. Barnes and 28-year-old Kamau Curnal on charges of sex trafficking and transporting a minor for prostitution.

"Although the charges stem from alleged criminal activity in Oregon, the men are both believed to have extensive ties to Seattle and may be living in that area," said Beth Anne Steele of the FBI Portland Division.

Barnes, also known as "Sleep," is described as 6-foot-3 and 240 pounds. He has tattoos on his neck, back, chest, left arm, right arm, and right wrist. One of the arm tattoos reads "sleepless."

Curnal is described as 5-foot-11, 185 pounds.

"Do not attempt to contact either directly," Steele said. "If in the immediate vicinity, call 911."

Anyone with general information or tips about the suspects is asked to call the FBI. In Portland, the number is 503-224-4181. In Seattle, the number is 206-262-0460.

Pimps are smooth talkers, and FBI agents say have a knack for hanging out at malls and parks, pinpointing girls who have family and confidence problems.

"Everyone is a little vulnerable to kindness and charm and being told they're pretty and worthwhile and they have value and they can make money," said Supervisor Special Agent Denise B., who is in charge of the case.

She says often, a girl's crush on the man turns into reliance, and then eventually prostitution.

The FBI says Portland strip clubs have become a breeding ground for pimps to find more girls.

"If you're unsure maybe doing a prostitution date, dancing seems like you're hands off," the special agent said. "They're removed from the customer, you're not necessarily interacting with customers, it kind of breaks down barriers. We know that, and so do traffickers. That's one place they'll try and engage the person they're trying to prostitute."

Portland to Seattle is a huge circuit for pimps to take their victims for a few days to make money.

"An individual is with someone under one pretense, and gets taken out of town to an area they don't know like from Portland to Seattle. But for someone without any resources who's never been out of Portland, that's a significant change of environment. You take away their cellphone or access to online media and they're isolated, and when they're there, whoever brought them there is their only lifeline," the special agent said.

Other popular destinations are Arizona, Las Vegas, Anchorage, Alaska and Hawaii. The FBI says they are places where nightlife is either bustling, or there's none of it, and customers are eager to pay for sex.

"These girls are treated like products and so they need to move to a new area to keep that product fresh, and a new customer base really," she said.

If you suspect a young person might be involved with people like this, there are resources that can help. The Sexual Assault Resource Center in Portland and Lifeworks are recommended by the FBI.


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