Bellevue Police arrested 16 men in one night during a prostitution patronization sting at a local motel.
As part of the operation, detectives used online apps to get at least some of the suspects to agree to dates with who they believed to be prostitutes.
According to police, the suspects agreed to pay anywhere from $80 to $280 for sex. Some brought sex paraphernalia, alcohol and narcotics.
One 38-year-old man was arrested, and detectives say they learned that in the past he had made statements to police about wanting to kill a prostitute. Detectives then found two guns in his waistband.
“Prostitution is not a victimless crime. Many sex workers become victims of robbery, assault and rape,” stated Captain Shelby Shearer. “But in this case, we very easily could have prevented something bad from happening.”
Patronizing a prostitute is a misdemeanor and BPD says the Bellevue city prosecutor will recommend suspects attend a mandatory 10-week program, Stopping Sexual Exploitation through Seattle Against Slavery. This program teaches how sexually exploiting women causes them harm and the suspects will learn tools to create healthy relationships in their own lives.
“Any comprehensive approach to combating human trafficking must include dealing with the demand, which is why we conduct the vice stings,” said Shearer. “We want to send the clear message to these suspects, don’t engage in prostitution, and certainly don’t do it in Bellevue,” he added.
If you or someone you know is a victim of human sex or labor trafficking, you are encouraged to contact Bellevue Police at [email protected]. Call 911 if you are in immediate danger.
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Source: Bellevue Reporter