Nearly two dozen arrested in Merced prostitution sting

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More than twenty people have been arrested in a Merced prostitution sting. 

“There is a problem with human trafficking and we get complaints about it, and they call to report the prostitution in the streets. So the Merced Police Department is taking a proactive approach to it,” Sgt. Robert Solis said. 

Solis and others worked undercover using known commercial sex websites. “Officers had responded to ads that were posted online and were also posting their own ads,” he said. 

The Operation was supposed to run Jan 24-26, but the phony ad was left up and men kept responding, leading to an extra three arrests Monday. 

“It seemed like they were desperate to contact what they thought was a female escort online so we responded to them and they agreed to meet us.”

A total of 23 people have been arrested on charges including solicitation of prostitution, pimping, and human trafficking. 

Solis said the police department tries to do operations like this one every few months. He said because the ad continues to get responses, they’ll leave it up a bit longer. 

The sting is part of the statewide “Reclaim and Rebuild” operation, which targets human trafficking and prostitution. 

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