Little Rock police arrested 42 men in southwest Little Rock on sex solicitation charges during two stings that coincided with national efforts to curtail purchased sex, the human trafficking coordinator for the Little Rock Police Department said Tuesday.
The operations were part of the National Johns Suppression Initiative that ran from Jan. 17 through Feb. 7. The initiative, organized by the Cook County sheriff's office in Illinois, brought together 23 agencies from 14 states and resulted in 552 arrests nationwide, sheriff's office spokesman Ben Breit said. More than 75 victims, including three minors, were rescued in the various stings, he said.
Little Rock police used undercover female officers who worked at several locations on Baseline Road for six to eight hours, Sgt. Allen Hamby said.
During the first operation in January, 20 people were arrested. In the second sting Feb. 1, police arrested 22 people, including one who was a student at Benton High School, he said.
"Prostitution leads to other crimes, such as drugs and robbery, so if we try to deter prostitution, it may slow the other problems," Hamby said.