The sun set in prison for 21 people charged with child sex and human trafficking by law enforcement led by Surprise, Arizona, police.
Undercover detectives working with the sting — code named “Operation Back to Skool” — placed ads on websites commonly searched by people seeking illegal sex acts, according to a statement on the police department’s Facebook page.
“Operations of this type are a part of the Surprise Police Department’s continuous effort to reduce the demand that fuels child sex trafficking and exploitation of children in our community.”
The 21 suspects, whose ages range between 23 and 63, have been charged with attempted sex conduct with a minor and child sex trafficking. One of those arrested was further charged with a drug-related crime.
A similar effort by Florida law enforcement netted 160 arrests from a prostitution sting that ensnared a Disney employee, educators and a Georgia deputy police chief.
“The online prostitution industry enables traffickers and allows for the continued victimization of those who are being trafficked,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said in a September 9 press release concerning the sting.
“Our goal is to identify victims, offer them help, and arrest those who are fueling the exploitation of human beings … and those profiting from the exploitation of human beings.”
Cartersville, Georgia, Deputy Police Chief Jason DiPrima visited Orlando for a polygraph training workshop. He answered an online advertisement from an undercover detective whom he believed was a prostitute, Judd said.
“He initially agreed to pay the undercover detective $120 for a half hour of “full service” sex,” the sheriff explained. “When he arrived at the undisclosed location, he confirmed the arrangement by giving the undercover detective $180 and a multi-pack of White Claw Hard Seltzer.”
DiPrima is no longer employed with the Cartersville Police Department. He resigned, according to a statement from the department earlier this month.
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