Tulsa Police: Undercover Motel Sting Finds Women Forced Into Prostitution
TULSA, Oklahoma - Tulsa Police busted a prostitution ring at a motel where they say women were being forced to have sex.
It all started after police began monitoring a web site they suspected was selling escort services at the Tulsa Inn Suites in the 8200 block of East Skelly Drive.
For the most part, prostitution has moved off the streets and onto the Internet. Police say there are 10 to 12 sites where people can hire a prostitute any night of the week in Tulsa. One site has 40 girls advertising every night, but as we learned, not all of them are doing it willingly.
Officers look on backpage.com often to try to catch people engaged in prostitution. They especially look for young girls who might be victims of human trafficking.
The five-person unit investigates a lot of crimes, but just that keeps them busy.
"Since the first of September, my unit has made over 50 arrests just off that website alone for prostitution," said Sgt. Todd Evans.
They used that website to book a date for Tuesday night. The officer went to the hotel and when the $150, half-hour massage turned sexual, he arrested the woman, Destiny Niles. 24.
Niles told officers she'd been brought to Tulsa from Fort Smith, Arkansas, and the man who brought her keeps her car keys, her money, her credit card and had threatened her physically.
The investigation led them to Clarence Holden, 24, of Forth Smith.
"We found him nearby, and when we arrested him, he had the keys to her car and her driver's license in his possession," said Sgt. Evans.
He was arrested for pandering, which is a felony, and a complaint of human trafficking was added Wednesday afternoon.
Police say, despite the lifestyle these women are being forced into by some men, it's very difficult to get the women to give up any information on them.
"The easiest way for a pimp to work a girl is basically sweet talk her, become her boyfriend. These girls think they're in love with the guy they're working for, and it's very hard for them to give them up," Evans said.
He said parents need to monitor what their kids are doing on their phones and on the Internet, so they don't fall victim to some of these men, willing to prey on their vulnerabilities.
"We see it every night, we make arrests on an almost nightly basis for this same type of deal," Evans said.
Oklahoma law says it's a felony to solicit prostitution within 1,000 feet of a school or a church, and reports show the incident last night was within 1,000 feet of a church.
They also arrested Deron Maxey, 25, for possession of a controlled drug.
Police believe as many as five men were involved in the operation.
Human sex trafficking is a very real and growing problem in Oklahoma.
Only one agency in northeast Oklahoma has been approved by the Attorney General to be a shelter for trafficking victims, and we'll tell you more about DaySpring Villa tonight at 9 p.m. and 10 p.m.