Aiming to crack down on a worsening problem in the community, authorities cited seven individuals accused of solicitation of prostitution in Kalispell.
A joint operation of various local law enforcement agencies conducted an online sting April 17 and April 18 that led to seven individuals being charged in Kalispell City Court. Solicitation of prostitution is a misdemeanor.
According to Flathead County Sheriff Chuck Curry, authorities posted an online advertisement offering the opportunity to meet a woman. Respondents were asked to negotiate a price to meet the woman at a local motel and engage in a sexual act.
Authorities received 145 emails from inquiring individuals and 60 text messages, Curry said. The seven who arrived at the site were charged.
Curry said the intent of the operation was to combat “a growing problem” in the community.
“I wouldn’t say it’s an epidemic certainly, but we’ve been made aware that there are prostitutes traveling to our area for a period of time and conducting business,” he said.
“We want to be proactive in dealing with sex trafficking rather than reactive.”
Curry noted that prostitution can involve adults and minors who are victimized and participating against their will.
The local operation involved the work of multiple agencies, including the sheriff’s office, the Kalispell Police Department, the Northwest Drug Task Force, Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
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