I stumbled upon this article this morning, and I just wanted to share it. This is another example of how trafficking can happen right underneath our noses.
According to boston.com, five women were arrested in a nation wide sex sting operation called Operation Cross Country. “Seventeen FBI agents and plainclothes officers were struggling to arrest two kicking and screaming young women” at the ritzy Boston Marriott Long Wharf on Friday evening. Apparently trafficking is not only found in divey looking motels along Rt. 1, but at high class hotels where weddings and proms are held.
According to the Globe, “the goal of the sweeps, being conducted in over 30 cities, is to target pimps, rescue juveniles, and gather intelligence, according to law enforcement officials.
The Boston sting led to the arrests of five women, ages 19 to 33, who allegedly showed up at the Marriott after agreeing to provide sex for up to $300 an hour to undercover officers. The officers had responded to advertisements posted on the Craigslist website, according to Boston police reports.”
Russell Kleber, a spokesman for the FBI’s Boston office, adding that the arrests were “aimed at combating sex trafficking of children.”
It is commendable that law enforcement officials were able to track down the prostitutes, but they have to determine if the prostitutes are victims of trafficking and are treated as victims and not criminals. My impression from the article is that the women were arrested and will be treated as criminals which prevents future trafficking victims from stepping forward to be a witness against their masters. Most of these women did not enter prostitution by choice so they should be treated as victims.
Finding traffickers is often the most difficult part of the operation, and we should not put up barriers for victims to go to law enforcement officials.