Nationwide Crackdown On Sex Trafficking Leads To Local Arrests
WASHINGTON, Pa. (KDKA) – In the past few weeks, there’s been a nationwide crackdown on sex trafficking, especially child sex trafficking.
They surfed the internet and worked undercover, including here in Pittsburgh.
And while they didn’t find anyone peddling children, they did make a number of other related arrests.
At least two women were arrested Friday at the Station Square Sheraton.
Heather West and Heather McGure were charged with prostitution, allegedly working with a website known for human trafficking.
Police say the arrests come as there is a push nationally and by the FBI to crack down on human trafficking and sex crimes involving children.
“Many of the children recovered in this operation were never reported missing,” said John Ryan, CEO of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. “And it wasn’t until they were recovered, in fact, that anyone knew they were missing.”
The women arrested in Friday’s sting were caught by undercover agents.
Police say the women thought they were arriving at the hotel to meet clients, but were instead met by officers.
During these investigations, two men were also arrested locally. Police say they thought they were talking to children online about sex, but in this case it was also undercover authorities.
“They were contacting them for the purposes of sex at which time we stepped in in an online sting, they came to meet those purported boys and they were arrested,” said Deputy Attorney General Anthony Marmo.
The men arrested were Bryan Miller and Kenneth Downer.
Officials say similar stings took place in other states, including Ohio.