Miami-Dade Police arrested 22 “Johns” in a sting operation in the area of SW 8th Street and SW 43rd Avenue Thursday night, authorities said.
The coordinated anti-John operation was aimed at putting pressure on the customers who support “the bedrock of human trafficking,” street-level prostitution, Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle and the Miami-Dade Police Department Tactical Narcotics Team said as they announced the arrests Friday.
Police officers working undercover nabbed the Johns, they said, and five prostitutes were also arrested.
The state attorney and police said they would work “to develop criminal intelligence information to charge the pimps for their roles in promoting forced prostitution and human trafficking,” as they play a central role in the enterprise.
The sting is part of a renewed strategy by Fernandez Rundle and Miami-Dade Police Director James Loftus to fight human trafficking by reducing the economic demand for it. Prostitutes who want to make a new life for themselves will be connected with service providers who can help them to rebuild their lives, and their customers “will face stronger penalties,” authorities said.
“Juvenile prostitution and forced prostitution are the ugly, ugly crimes at the heart of human trafficking activities,” Rundle said in a statement. “To stop human trafficking, we must attack the problem from many directions with all the enforcement and social service tools at our disposal. This is an effort we must succeed with.”