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SLCPD arrests six in prostitution sting

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Posted at 12:11 PM, Apr 05, 2013
and last updated 2013-04-05 21:43:29-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- Five men and one woman were arrested Thursday night in a prostitution sting conducted by the Salt Lake City Police Department.

The sting happened between 5 and 9 p.m. in the area of 1500 S and State St.

Several female officers dressed in plain clothes acted as decoys in the sting. They walked around and waited for people to approach and engage them in conversation.

"Sometimes it takes an undercover operation to actually see how rampant this crime is and how prevalent it is in the city," said Salt Lake City Police Sgt. Shawn Josephson.

Those who offered money in exchange for sex were arrested by other officers waiting nearby.

Police said many of the actual prostitutes who work in the area do so to support drug habits and many of their customers are visitors to Salt Lake City.

"Unfortunately, there are places, there are streets that are known for prostitutes walking and being there. And this was one of those locations," Josephson said. "As you can see, people are going to those locations to find a prostitute to pick up and interact with."

All six of the people arrested face misdemeanor charges of sex solicitation. Two of the suspects also face felony charges of drug and drug paraphernalia possession.

The operation was conducted by SLCPD's organized crime unit.

Josephson said more stings in other areas of the city are expected to take place in the coming weeks.