Undercover agents posed as children on various social media platforms.
Scores of suspects were arrested on child sex trafficking charges during the last weekend of the NCAA Final Four basketball tournament in Minneapolis, Minnesota, reported Reuters.
The suspects were arrested as a result of a sting operation in which undercover agents posed as children or sex buyers on a number of social media platforms. According to the Reuters report, agents “chatted” with the suspects online, and then arrested them at the location where they had arranged to meet.
Of the 58 people arrested, 47 face felony charges of solicitation of a minor or solicitation of prostitution with someone under the age of 16. Eleven others were arrested for sex trafficking and promotion of prostitution. A majority of those arrested were from the Minneapolis and Saint Paul area, according to the state department of public safety.
“This operation is an example of the aggressive steps necessary to stop traffickers and johns who buy and sell people for sex in our communities,” said Drew Evans, superintendent of the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.
Over 33 local and state agencies, along with federal agents from Homeland Security Investigations, were involved in the sting operation. A similar investigation was conducted during the week before the Super Bowl in Atlanta, and 169 people were arrested.