County task force nabs 29 ‘Johns’ in sex trafficking sting

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — Using the lure of online ads, a county task force busted 29 men in a crackdown on sex trafficking.

Sergeant Matthew Blue with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department said the “johns” were responding to dozens of phony online ads on numerous websites, posted by the Human Trafficking Task Force.

Some of those who were taken into custody in the sting, dubbed “Operation Reclaim and Rebuild” were married. One man was a service member and one of the would-be “johns” even showed up on a bike.

Investigators said all of them had one thing in common; they were ready to buy a young woman or a girl for sex.

According to Sergeant Blue, the buyers who took the bait told undercover officers posing as the women, exactly what they were looking for.

However, when they showed up at a Mission Valley hotel last week, expecting to have sex, they were met by deputies and law enforcement officers who arrested them took away their phones and cars and then took them to jail.

The law enforcement agencies trying to stop sex trafficking said the women and girls sold for sex are victims, many of them underage and forced by violence or threats to engage in prostitution by their pimps.

Sergeant Blue said the men who are paying for sex are often just as violent.

Behind closed doors, Blue said some “johns” feel they can be extremely abusive or brutal because no one will ever know.

“Their mindset, their thought process is ‘I don’t care what the agreement was, it’s just going to be me and her behind a locked door in a hotel. They’re not going to believe her, she’s just a prostitute, so no cares about her. She’s less than a human being, so I’m going to rape and sodomize her and beat her and do whatever I want to do, and they’re not going to call,'” Blue explained.

For those arrested, this is only the beginning of their exposure to the criminal justice system.

They will be expected to appear in court, and if found guilty, they will have a permanent conviction on their record, showing a sex offense. The crime which is a misdemeanor is punishable by fines and up to a year in jail.

Categories: Local San Diego News