A four-day crackdown on prostitution and human trafficking in Oklahoma yielded 42 arrests, according to the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics.
Undercover agents flooded Green Country last week to conduct sex trafficking sting operations at various hotels in four counties.
They said the goal is to infiltrate street level prostitution rings in an effort to find and rescue victims who are being forced into the sex trade.
During "Operation Trojan Horse," undercover officers posed as prostitutes and Johns on websites known for this activity. Undercover female officers posted ads on backpage.com and, as men showed up at the hotel, expecting sex in exchange for money, they were taken into custody for pandering. Undercover male officers responded to ads already on the website and when the women showed up, ready to sell sex, they were also taken into custody.
They did this in Tulsa, Rogers, Ottawa and Delaware Counties for four days last week.
An OBN spokesman said the multi-agency investigation "Operation Trojan Horse" ended with:
• Thirteen arrests for engaging in prostitution
• Twenty arrests for soliciting prostitution
• Seven arrests for pandering
• One arrest for aiding and abetting prostitution
• One arrest for possession of methamphetamine
Each suspect was interviewed extensively as a way to identify potential sex trafficking victims. They found three: two adults and one 15-year-old girl.
"It still shocks me to know a 15-year-old girl is being trafficked like that. It's a seedy underworld we're infiltrating, and we're glad to do that with our law enforcement partners," said Darrell Weaver, with OBN.
They say what they've learned from dismantling drug operations helps them know how to dismantle trafficking ones, that they operate largely the same way--under the radar, sometimes with levels between those who are pulling the strings and those on the street.
In addition to all the undercover officers who worked long hours last week, this operation also involved surveillance teams, takedown teams, transport teams. Plus, analysts were along to keep track of the intelligence gathered, for the next time.
Other agencies involved in the investigation include the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Homeland Security, Tulsa Police, Rogers County Sheriff's Office, Miami Police, Grove Police, Ottawa County Sheriff's Office, Delaware County District Attorney's Office, Quapaw Tribal Marshals, Eastern Shawnee Tribal Police, Wyandotte Nation Tribal Police, Cherokee County Sheriff's Office in Kansas and Newton County Sheriff's Office in Missouri.
"This is modern-day slave labor. It's real troubling," Weaver said.
OBN created a human trafficking unit last year, and it plans to do many more of these sting operations in the future.
Authorities say they also served a search warrant on a massage parlor in Bixby. They say that uncovered illegal sexual activity and heroin, so additional arrests are pending.