Murrieta, CA – On Tuesday, September 13, 2022, the Murrieta Police Department, in partnership with the Riverside County Anti-Human Trafficking Taskforce (RCAHT), conducted a proactive enforcement operation that targeted online prostitution and those whose demand for these unlawful activities fuels an illicit underground economy, both locally as well as across the State of California.
As a result of this enforcement effort, a total of twelve males were arrested for solicitation of prostitution. One male was arrested for pimping per section 266h of the California Penal Code. Murrieta PD also contacted one adult female who was believed to be the victim of human trafficking and possibly being forced to engage in acts of prostitution against her will. The identity of this victim will not be released pursuant to state confidentiality laws. The victim was referred to victim services for assistance while the investigation into her sex trafficking continues.
Prostitution is not a “victimless” crime. Ninety-five percent of sex trafficking victims are women or children. Those victimized by commercial sexual exploitation frequently have long histories of emotional, physical, and/or sexual abuse or trauma. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children estimates 1 in 6 endangered runaways reported are likely victims of sex trafficking. Sex trafficking victims are often subjected not only to severe forms of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse at the hands of their trafficker, but are also frequently physically and sexually assaulted by those who solicit them for prostitution.
Through proactive enforcement operations, RCAHT and the Murrieta Police Department are working to reduce future demand for sex trafficking by identifying and arresting sex buyers.
Anyone with information about sex trafficking or questions are encouraged to contact Sergeant Roy Vargas or Corporal James Tompkins at (951) 696-3615.