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Seven Arrested In Reverse-Prostitution Sting

Police arrested seven men in Sioux Falls Wednesday after they tried to exchange sex for money. Officials conducted a reverse-prostitution sting where authorities target people soliciting sex, not people selling it.

In the reverse-prostitution sting, Sioux Falls authorities post fake ads that publicize escort services online. People contact undercover female detectives and schedule a time to meet. Police Information Officer Sam Clemens says authorities wait for people to offer money for sex.

"The guys have been contacting the female detectives and arrange to meet at a hotel. Once they get in there, then the guys are arranging what type of activity they’re looking to do and arranging a price for that," Clemens says. "And then after that happens, they’re arrested."

Clemens says officials are pushing greater enforcement of anti-prostitution laws.  He says it’s hard to determine whether more arrests mean more people are soliciting sex or more people are getting caught.

All of the men arrested face Class One Misdemeanor charges of hiring for sexual activity. Clemens says other crimes like drug use, robberies and exploitation often accompany prostitution.

"Yeah, it’s a misdemeanor, and people may think that it’s a waste of time. But we enforce speeding laws, too, and those are class two misdemeanors, not even class one misdemeanors, but we know that speeding cars cause accidents. And, when people are involved in accidents, sometimes they’re hurt or even killed," Clemens says. "So we do that as a goal to try to reduce overall crime. And that’s what we’re doing here, is trying to reduce not only prostitution but those other crimes that are associated with it."

Clemens says the reverse prostitution sting doesn’t interrupt normal police services. He says select police detectives operate the stings, so Sioux Falls keeps the same number of officers on regular patrol.

Sioux Falls Police held another reverse-prostitution sting at the end of August. They arrested eight men during that sting.