12-year-old may be sex trafficking victim

Police are asking the public for help in locating a 12-year-old girl who left her home in San Francisco last week and has been reportedly seenĀ in both Oakland and San Francisco this past week.

Imani Howell left her San Francisco home and headed to school on the morning of Nov. 10, but did not attend class that day and has still not returned home, San Francisco police Officer Albie Esparza said.

Imani was reportedly spotted Monday on International Boulevard in Oakland, a street long associated with sex trafficking and prostitution. Esparza said on Wednesday that there have been reported sightings of Imani in San Francisco and Oakland “over the last few days.”

Oakland police spokeswoman Johnna Watson said today that police in Oakland are out looking for Imani and that her disappearance, and the possibility that she may have become a victim of human sex trafficking, is being taken very seriously by law enforcement.

Watson said that San Francisco police, not Oakland police, received the initial report that Imani was seen on International Boulevard on Monday.

Watson said that while the Oakland Police Department has not received any tips regarding Imani’s disappearance, she is asking anyone who sees Imani to call police immediately. Imani is described as about 5 feet 4 inches tall and 161 pounds with brown eyes and black hair, police said.

She was last seen wearing black yoga pants, a cut-off shirt and high heels, according to police. Anyone with information on Imani’s whereabouts is asked to call the San Francisco Police Department‘s anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444 or send a tip by text to TIP411 with “SFPD” at the start of the message.