OKLAHOMA CITY — An undercover sex trafficking sting in the metro results in dozens of arrests. It all happened last week with the help of the FBI as part of a nationwide operation.
In all, 60 people were arrested in Oklahoma City. Those arrested included 10 alleged pimps, 11 johns and 39 prostitutes.
“Obviously we do consider this a tremendous success” said Oklahoma City police Sgt. Jennifer Wardlow. “Obviously our chief has made it clear we will not tolerate this activity.”
“We dedicate a lot of resources for the sole purpose of recovering kids and charging those with exploiting them,” said FBI spokesman Gary Johnson.
“An awful lot of this is a PR stunt on the part of law enforcement,” said video vigilante Brian Bates. “I’ve looked at the last 30 to 40 prostitution arrests and the average fine is under a hundred dollars.”
As an example, last year during the same bust KFOR profiled two suspects, Michelle Mccord and Jerrica Moore.
After her arrest, McCord paid a $50 fine, performed community service and got a three year deferred sentence before being arrested just three months later again for prostitution.
As for Moore, just three months after her prostitution arrest she wound up being arrested again, this time for murder. Bates expects most of those arrested this time will also get nothing but a same slap on the wrist.
“The citizens are going to see the same prostitutes and pimps six months from now because nothing is going to happen to them,” said Bates.
For their part, the FBI says three underage kids were taken into custody locally for working in the sex trade.
The goal of the sweep is to rescue those young victims from the streets, but that’s a tough task that results in a wide range of arrests.
“We try to target them but it’s difficult because they don’t advertise being 14, 15, or 16 online, “said Johnson. “It’s basically like a needle in a haystack. but sometimes you have to go through the whole stack to get the needle.”
Nationwide more than 100 sexually exploited teens have been rescued following the child sex trafficking crackdown by the FBI and local authorities.
Law enforcement agencies in 76 cities coordinated the busts as part of ongoing efforts to stop child prostitution. The FBI says this weekend’s crackdown was the largest nationwide enforcement to date.
They say it puts a spotlight on a serious problem threatening our youth.