Fresno prostitution sting targets men

FRESNO, Calif.

It's no secret that prostitution is fairly common in certain parts of the city, the area of Olive and Highway 99. Prostitutes walk the streets all day, but Thursday the cops were mostly looking for the guys trying to pick them up.

As Anthony Jimenez walked up to the woman he thought was a prostitute, Fresno police were listening to the conversation. The prostitute was actually an undercover cop acting as bait.

Jimenez eventually backed out of the deal he was negotiating, but ended up in handcuffs, charged with loitering for the purpose of prostitution.

"So whether you make the deal or you're just over there talking to somebody in that trade, negotiating about prices, what's going to happen, we're still going to arrest you for it, vice team Sgt. Curt Chastain.

Police say the sex business is often connected to human trafficking and women are the usual victims. This sting specifically targeted the men involved in prostitution.

"These girls, these young women, wouldn't be here if there wasn't somebody out there willing to pay the money," Sgt. Chastain said.

Jimenez and others accused of offending for the first time are offered programs to essentially erase their arrest from the books.

Officers offered a similar free pass to the one and only alleged prostitute they arrested during the operation.

The 21-year-old suspect said she has five kids and only worked the streets when she needed money for them. Police are hoping to make a difference with her.

"Take that time to find out what brought them there today, what's the background of their life and if there's a potential ability for us to provide some service or give some direction just to change that habit and that's what happened there," Sgt. Chastain said.

Thursday's sting was two-pronged. We showed you cops working the streets, but they also worked the internet, setting up meetings online, then arresting the johns when they showed up to complete the deal.

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