A two-day multi-agency operation was conducted recently at locations throughout northern New Castle County, which focused on prostitution enforcement, for the purpose of addressing the issue of human trafficking, according to Public Information Officer, Master Corporal Michael Austin.
Austin said the initiative, which was a joint partnership between the Delaware State Police, Department of Homeland Security, State of Delaware Attorney General’s Office, Department of Probation and Parole, FBI and the State of Delaware Victim Services Unit, took place on Thursday, January 17, and Monday, January 21, 2019.
Over the course of the two-day operation, 42 individuals were arrested, with 45 criminal charges being filed. A total of 40 individuals were arrested for prostitution-related offenses, 24 of which were charged with Prostitution and 16 for Patronizing a Prostitute. There were also 28 active warrants cleared.
Various internet sites to include CityX and Skip the Games were utilized as modes of communication for initiating and arranging the eventual face to face meetings, which ultimately led to the arrests, said Austin.
In addition prostitution-related arrests, two subjects were charged with drug related offenses in which 2.85 grams of heroin, .5 grams of crack cocaine, 10 prescription pills and $2,696.00 in suspected drug money was seized.
Once in custody, all the subjects arrested for prostitution were interviewed by both Victim Service specialists and detectives, for the purpose of gaining possible human trafficking intelligence information, but also to provide appropriate resources to include substance abuse counseling, as well as health and social service counseling. As a result of these post-arrest interviews, one subject was identified as a victim of human trafficking, according to Austin. She is now receiving services appropriate for her current situation and circumstance.
Autin said the goal of the operation was not strictly punitive in nature, rather it was an opportunity to identify and offer services to potential victims of human trafficking while at the same time sending a message to the public that prostitution is not a victimless crime. It is a significant quality of life issue that far-reaching effects.