Tougher Police Tactics Stinging Sex Buyers to Get Rid of Demand

Originally published on The Seattle Times by Sara Jean Green on October 15, 2014—
“In a trio of musty-smelling motel rooms on Pacific Highway South, a group of cops made four arrests in quick succession — two businessmen in button-down shirts, a college student who swung by after class and a man in his 50s who paid double to “party longer” with a woman he thought was a prostitute.

Then a lull: For nearly an hour and a half, the cellphones of two undercover Seattle officers, in body-hugging clothing and heavy makeup, went silent.

Finally, one of the officers, wearing five-inch heels and a cleavage-revealing shirt-and-skirt combo, stepped into the bathroom to take a call. “Someone’s here,” she called out to her fellow officers a few minutes later.

A 40-year-old Auburn man walked into her shabby motel room and handed over $80. He then shrugged out of his jacket, skinned off his T-shirt and popped open his pants. Moments later, he was in handcuffs.

The man, a level 3 sex offender who had served prison time for attacking two prostitutes, would end up being their biggest catch of the night.

Last month, the group of Seattle cops — a couple of sergeants, a handful of detectives and the two undercover officers, or UCs — headed south to teach seven Des Moines officers how to run a “hotel op,” an Internet sting designed to catch men who buy sex. Nine men were arrested that night.

Since June, Seattle police and six other King County law-enforcement agencies have been conducting similar stings as part of a program Prosecutor Dan Satterberg is to publicly announce on Wednesday morning. The grant-funded, national program called “The CEASE Network” is aimed at holding men accountable for fueling the demand side of the sex trade — and at deterring them by increasing their risk of getting caught.

CEASE, an acronym for Cities Empowered Against Sexual Exploitation, got its official start in Boston, Denver and Seattle earlier this year, with seven more cities — including Portland, Chicago and Phoenix — set to launch their own initiatives later this month.”

For the rest of the original article, please click here.

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