A 38-year-old man was arrested on investigation of patronizing a prostitute during an undercover vice operation at a Bellevue motel. The man agreed to a date through an online app with what he thought was a prostitute. When he arrived, he was arrested, and detectives learned that in the past he had made statements to police about wanting to kill a prostitute. Detectives then found two guns in his waistband.
“Prostitution is not a victimless crime. Many sex workers become victims of robbery, assault and rape,” stated Captain Shelby Shearer. “But in this case, we very easily could have prevented something bad from happening.” In all, detectives arrested 16 men for patronizing a prostitute during the one-night sting operation.
“Any comprehensive approach to combating human trafficking must include dealing with the demand, which is why we conduct the vice stings,” said Shearer. “We want to send the clear message to these suspects, don’t engage in prostitution, and certainly don’t do it in Bellevue,” he added.
The suspects agreed to pay anywhere from $80-$280 for sex. Some brought sex paraphernalia, alcohol and narcotics. Patronizing a prostitute is a misdemeanor and the Bellevue city prosecutor will recommend suspects attend a mandatory 10-week program, Stopping Sexual Exploitation through Seattle Against Slavery. This program teaches how sexually exploiting women causes them harm and the suspects will learn tools to create healthy relationships in their own lives.
“Our ongoing investigations show that countless people are being trafficked and commercially sexually exploited in the City of Bellevue. We have identified children, domestic violence victims, foreign nationals, and other highly vulnerable and marginalized people who are being harmed through the illicit sex trade,” Shearer explained. “We continue to identify these victims and try to connect them with services. We remain steadfast in addressing the demand for commercial sex, which fuels the sex trafficking industry. We will continue to hold sex buyers accountable for the harm they are perpetuating in the community.”
If you or someone you know is a victim of human sex or labor trafficking, you are encouraged to contact Bellevue Police at ViceHT@bellevuewa.gov. Call 911 if you are in immediate danger.
Case #s 21-62386, 21-62422, 21-62431, 21-62434, 21-62443, 21-62456, 21-62461, 21-62469, 21-62-477, 21-62482, 21-62487, 21-62489, 21-62492, 21-62494, 21-62498, 21-62501