PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Nine men received criminal citations and one was arrested during a joint undercover prostitution sting performed in eastern Multnomah County on Sept. 12 by the Portland Police Bureau and the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office.
PPB said that the men were cited for agreeing to pay for sex with undercover female officers posing as prostitutes in the area. The suspects ranged from 25 to 51 years old, and mostly consisted of men from the greater Portland area. One of the men, police say, was arrested for agreeing to sex with an officer posing as a minor.
“One man even agreed to purchase sex from an officer posing as a 15-year-old,” PPB said. “Arresting buyers is one way to help reduce the demand to purchase sex in our community and victimization.”
PPB said that the sting operation was conducted in response to an increase in complaints about prostitution occurring around Multnomah County. PPB detectives involved with the Portland Human Trafficking Unit say that more sting operations are planned for the Portland area.
“Additional missions are planned, focused on traffickers, sex buyers, and aggressive tactics employed by some [sex workers] that have caused a high level of community concern,” PPB said. “Some of these tactics include approaching occupied vehicles in the roadway.”
Cash, cell phones and a handgun were seized from the suspects during the investigation. While the operation was performed in response to prostitution reports in the area, PPB said that its officers generally don’t arrest sex workers due to the serious issues associated with human trafficking and that Multnomah County offers services for victims of human trafficking.
“Due to the complexity of these cases, such as repeated trauma exposures, trauma bonds with traffickers, and fear of retaliation, the victims in these cases are often reluctant to come forward, make a report and continue through the criminal justice process,” PPB said. “[The Human Trafficking Unit] continues to offer trauma-informed, victim-centered services.”