At least 42 suspects were arrested during a sting targeting human and sex trafficking in Memphis, Tennessee, police said.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, in a release, said that 38 men and four women were arrested, which included “eight men responding to the ads tried to buy sex from a minor.” Meanwhile, “those arrested include a medical professional, engineers, a law student, a tow truck driver and construction workers,” the TBI added.
Two juvenile female victims of human trafficking were also recovered in the sting and were referred to the Department of Children’s Services.
Agents posted four ads each day on Backpage.com for about 7 hours each day, and some 475 men responded to them in total.
“We have said all along that this is a demand-driven crime, and this operation demonstrates how very prevalent that demand is,” TBI Director Mark Gwyn said in the release. “Let me speak directly to men: The women you see advertised online are people, not products. We need men to step up and demand better from themselves and the men around them.”
“Operations like ‘Operation Someone Like Me’ are necessary to protect the innocence of youth within our community. It is sickening to know that there are individuals who prey on our girls and women,” added Memphis Police Director Michael Rallings. “Parents and family members, be aware and know where your children are and what they are doing at all times.”