COLUMBUS, Ohio — More than 100 people were arrested in three counties in Ohio in a massive human trafficking and internet sex sting, WBNS reports.
Three dozen of them were men trying to buy sex.
Forty-three women were arrested for selling sex.
Two dozen men were arrested in the online child sex sting.
One by one, 24 men were marched in front of a judge over three days.
They are all accused of the same crimes: attempted unlawful sexual conduct with a minor and importuning.
They all showed up with the intention of meeting a child for sex, according to Major Steven Tucker with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office.
Major Tucker oversaw the sting operation run by the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
He says it starts with online chats between the men and who they believe to be underage boys and girls.
But it’s actually an officer posing as a juvenile.
“The reality that they were operating in is that there absolutely was a child at the other end of that device, and that’s who they were coming to see,” Major Tucker said.
And he says each of these men followed through.
“They show up with things that clearly somebody isn’t going to show up to a house with unless they intended to engage in sexual activity,” Major Tucker said.
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost announced the operation Friday.
The operation was focused not just on internet predators but human traffickers and the men who feed the sex trade with their dollars.
“Criminals involved in trafficking other human beings prey upon those individuals that are already at risk, subjecting them to prostitution and addiction,” Yost said. “Predators who seek to harm our children and grandchildren are not hiding in the bushes They’re lurking on the internet.”
The 104 people arrested included a medical doctor and a church youth pastor.
The women arrested for selling sex will be connected with social services.
“Please talk to your children,” Major Tucker said. “Please know what they’re doing online. Set the rules. Be the parent. Know who they’re talking to. You’re entitled to ask. You’re entitled to know. The children need to know, you can’t trust everybody. Not every adult is trustworthy.”