Bay Area Law Enforcement Agencies Used Sex Sites To Lure Pimps

Bay Area law enforcement agencies are releasing details about a sting targeting underage prostitutes last week that was part of the national, five-day Operation Cross Country headed by the FBI that ended Sunday.
The goal of the operation was to rescue underage children who were being sexually exploited.

The FBI said 105 minors were rescued and 152 pimps were arrested in 76 cities across the country. In the Bay Area, 12 children were rescued and 17 pimps were arrested on the streets and at hotels.

The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office and District Attorney’s Office and police from Santa Rosa, Petaluma and Rohnert Park participated in the sweep at a Santa Rosa hotel and a Petaluma hotel on Thursday and Friday, Santa Rosa police Sgt. Terry Anderson said.

Law enforcement agents at the two hotels posed as customers who solicited sex through websites that provide underage prostitutes.

In Sonoma County, three girls—one 15 years old and two 17 years old—and six women were rescued, Sonoma County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ruben Martinez said.

With the exception of one of the minors, all the females were from outside Sonoma County.

Four pimps were arrested—two from Vallejo, one from Sacramento and one from Oakland in the Sonoma County sting.

Federal and local law enforcement agencies in San Mateo County arrested 10 prostitutes and one pimp on Thursday and Friday nights.

San Mateo officers set up an undercover location and arranged meetings with prostitutes, according to police.

Yu Yuan, a 25-year-old San Jose man, allegedly transported one of the prostitutes to the undercover location and was arrested for felony pimping, police said.

The women arrested in the sting were contacted by victim advocates of Freedom House, a nonprofit dedicated to providing assistance to victims of human trafficking, police said.

San Mateo police were continuing the investigation and did not release the names of the arrested prostitutes.

The Oakland Police Department responded to a sexual assault of a 16-year-old girl late Saturday morning, police said.

The girl’s pimp was arrested for human sex trafficking and child exploitation, police said.

Law enforcement agencies in Alameda and Contra Costa counties and in 13 Bay Area cities also participated in the sting.

The other local police agencies in the Bay Area that participated were Concord, Hayward, Richmond, San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Clara and South San Francisco, the FBI said.

Operation Cross County was coordinated through the Innocence Lost National Initiative, a partnership between the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, local law enforcement and the FBI.

James Lanaras/Chris Cooney, Bay City News

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