On Wednesday, May 20, the San Bernardino County Human Trafficking Task Force, assisted by San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department MET investigators, arrested 12 men and one male juvenile for solicitation for prostitution during an in-call hotel “John” operation in Redlands.

According to a sheriff’s department press release, the operation was part of an ongoing effort through heavy presence and enforcement to suppress human trafficking/prostitution throughout the communities of San Bernardino County by targeting purchasers, "Johns."

During the operation, undercover officers were deployed at a local hotel on the 1000 block of Colton Ave. to pose as prostitutes through online advertisements.

Online advertisements are more often used as a means for the commercialized trafficking of underaged victims in the sex trade.

During the operation, the officers were contacted and solicited for acts of prostitution by multiple male suspects. Upon their arrival at the location, the suspects were taken into custody without incident and interviewed.

In compliance with the statewide Emergency Bail Schedule, bail for most misdemeanor and felony offenses must be set at $0. Because of this criterion, all 13 suspects were issued citations for violation of PC 647(b)(2)- (Sex Buyer) solicitation for prostitution and released from custody. This included the juvenile, who was released into the custody of his parents.

The San Bernardino County Human Trafficking Task Force is made up of investigators from the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office, Redlands Police Department, Ontario Police Department, California State Parole, Office of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Community involvement plays an integral part in the fight against human trafficking, and law enforcement appreciates and encourages the assistance and information provided by the public. Anyone wishing to report activities or concerns related to human trafficking to the San Bernardino County Human Trafficking Task Force can do so directly by calling (909) 387-8400 or by email at humantrafficking@sbcsd.org. Anyone wishing to remain anonymous may contact We-Tip at 1 (888) 78-CRIME, or you may leave the information on the WE-Tip Hotline at www.wetip.com.

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