State and federal law enforcement agencies are aggressive in their pursuit to track down and “bust up” alleged prostitution rings. Sometimes we read about these stings in the news or see them played back on TV shows that document police activity; but while these stings can often be sensationalized in the media, the fact is that they have very real consequences for real people.
Many people caught up in these enforcement efforts may not fit the description of what the police are really looking for. They may be first-time offenders, non-violent people who have made a bad decision or people who would have not engaged in such behaviors without the enticement of a law enforcement agent (entrapment). What police are typically looking for, and the reason they are so aggressive in their actions, is juveniles.
According to a video on the FBI.gov website, prostitution stings are set up as a way to identify young people who have been pulled into the trade, sometimes against their will or out of fear for their own safety. The officers’ intent is to find young people, many of whom have been reported as missing by their parents, and get them into counseling or rehabilitation programs.
However, in their efforts to find juveniles engaged in prostitution, the FBI notes that they will arrest adults in the hopes of getting information. They may consider a sting a success even if no juveniles are involved because they believe that they can get intelligence that can help them in future stings.
What this means for the adults who are arrested for prostitution or solicitation is that they will often be questioned or detained by police after an arrest, and the answers they give can have a significant impact on what happens next. It can be crucial at this time for a person to avoid saying anything before speaking to an attorney.
Statements made to police or other agents can be used against a person who has been read their Miranda rights, so it is crucial to first discuss the situation with a lawyer who understands what the consequences of a criminal conviction can mean. With legal support, a person can work to minimize potential penalties and pursue a dismissal or reduction of charges.