Nine men are accused of soliciting sex from undercover police at a Manassas-area hotel, according to Prince William police.
The sting operation on Aug. 8 was part of an effort to combat human trafficking by targeting those soliciting sex, police spokesperson Sgt. Jonathan Perok said Monday.
“Anyone who solicits commercial sex plays a fundamental role in human sex trafficking by contributing to the need and demand of such activities,” Perok said in a statement. “Our department, in conjunction with our community partners, recognize that those who solicit commercial sex play an equal role in creating a marketplace that thrives on sexual abuse, violence, and child exploitation.”
During the course of the operation, undercover detectives created online advertisements designed to solicit commercial sex that led to the contact of numerous suspects by phone and through social media.
In addition to enforcement, the police department will continue community education efforts and awareness campaigns through partnership with federal, state, and local agencies, Perok said. The department has conducted training at area hotels, local churches and hospitals, and other county agencies to educate respective staff on how to identify and report suspected commercial sex and human trafficking.
“The plan is to continue these educational opportunities since our community partners play a critical role in notifying law enforcement of suspected illicit activity,” Perok said.
To report suspected human trafficking or to receive assistance if you are victim of human trafficking, contact the Human Trafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888, text to 233733 or call local police at 703-792-6500.