Reverse Stings: Is Prostitution a Victimless Crime?
Just this week, a collaboration of more than 85 federal, state, county and local law enforcement and nonprofit community organizations conducted Operation Reclaim & Rebuild – a statewide, law enforcement effort aimed at sending a clear message that human trafficking will no longer be tolerated in California. In all 45 adults and 11 minor females were rescued from sex trafficking, and 30 traffickers and 178 johns were arrested during the operation.
In one very disturbing incident in Milpitas, California, a man dressed in full police uniform – including a side arm – was arrested on felony charges after he sexually assaulted a human-trafficking victim. The suspect was found to be already on felony probation and wanted by police for additional, similar crimes.
The operation also targeted those who use the internet to exploit victims. In one such instance, an undercover deputy posing as a young female on social media was contacted by a suspect, who recruited her to work for him in the commercial sex trade.
After arranging a meeting, the pimp drove from Riverside County to meet with his victim. He demanded $500 from the victim for him to manage her. The suspect would collect the money from the customers and give the victim whatever he decided she needed.The suspect was arrested by task force detectives and found to be in possession of a stolen .357 Magnum handgun.
A recent university study found that San Diego’s underground sex industry nets $810 million a year and victimizes an average of 5,000 women, girls and boys.
“Buyers convince themselves they are involved in a hobby where there are no victims,” District Attorney Summer Stephan said in a statement Tuesday announcing the sting results. “The anonymity of the Internet emboldens Johns to ask for and expect the most extreme acts. They are often more violent than the pimps and traffickers themselves. Johns treat sex trafficking victims as less than human and they believe that there will be no one to hold them accountable for their actions.”
In Riverside County, law enforcement officers placed decoy advertisements on a popular classified advertisement website commonly used for the solicitation of prostitution. These officers then responded to prospective customers who replied to these advertisements. Once an agreement for prostitution was brokered, the customers were arrested upon their arrival at a pre-determined meeting location.
While conversing with the callers, some expressed a sexual interest in, and ultimately agreed to meet with a minor for sex acts. The “minor” was in actuality an undercover task force officer posing as an underage female. The suspects who knowingly believed they were meeting with a minor for prostitution were arrested for solicitation of a minor for lewd acts, a felony.
Prostitution is not a “victimless” crime. Ninety-five percent of sex trafficking victims are women or children. Those involved in commercial sexual exploitation frequently have long histories of emotional, physical, and/or sexual abuse or trauma in their backgrounds. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children estimates 1 in 6 endangered runaways reported are likely victims of sex trafficking. Sex trafficking victims are often subjected not only to severe forms of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse at the hands of their trafficker, but are also frequently physically and sexually assaulted by those that solicit them for prostitution.
Join us Thursday, February 1, 2018 at 7a.m. PST on VOICE AMERICA – Variety Channel as we discuss why law enforcement does reverse stings and why prostitution is not a victimless crime. If you missed the live show, you can listen to the archived show at ExploitedCrimes.com. You can also find us on iTunes at Exploited – Crimes Against Humanity
“Like” Million Kids on Facebook to get involved so we can say together, “NEVER AGAIN SHOULD A CHILD BE VIOLATED!”
RESOURCES, LINKS and CASES:
- ‘John’ sting nets 29 men around county in fight against sex trafficking
- Catching Johns: Inside The National Push to Arrest Men Who Buy Sex
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