Police in Ohio have announced the conclusion of a massive child sex trafficking sting that ended in the arrests of 104 people.
Officials announced that 24 men, between 20 and 59 years of age, were accused of attempted unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, 43 women were charged with selling sex, 36 men for trying to buy sex, and one man for promoting prostitution, according to WBNS Channel 10 TV.
The Franklin County sheriff’s department also announced that those arrested in the three-county sting included a church official and an ER doctor.
Franklin County Sheriff’s Maj. Steven Tucker, who supervised the sting, noted that investigators set up a series of front Internet profiles of children that the 24 men arrested for soliciting had contacted.
“The reality that they were operating in is that there absolutely was a child at the other end of that device, and that’s who they were coming to see,” Maj. Tucker said pointing out that each of the 24 men had tried to arrange a real-world meeting with a child.
“They show up with sex toys, they show up with lubrication,” the major added. “They show up with things that clearly somebody isn’t going to show up to a house with, unless they intended to engage in sexual activity.”
The officer warned parents to have discussions with their children about these dangers and to keep a close eye on their Internet activities.
But the sting also focused on criminals who would traffic in children and buy and sell them for sex.
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost warned of the dangers kids face online.
“Criminals involved in trafficking other human beings prey upon those individuals that are already at risk, subjecting them to prostitution and addiction,” Yost said at a press conference. “Predators who seek to harm our children and grandchildren are not hiding in the bushes, they’re lurking on the internet.”
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