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104 arrested in prostitution sting

MINEOLA, N.Y., June 4 (UPI) — Nassau County, N.Y., police said a monthlong prostitution sting netted 104 arrests, and identified the suspects at a Mineola, N.Y., news conference.

The suspects, ranging in age from 17 to 79, were arrested in hotel rooms in April and May, police said at the news conference Monday. The encounters with undercover police posing as prostitutes were arranged by posting fake advertising on the website Backpage.com, the New York Daily News reported Tuesday.

The methodology, of engaging suspects in a prostitution sting and then publicly identifying them, is a drastic shift in how the Long Island county prosecutes prostitution, authorities said. The newspaper noted that prior to the operation, fewer than 40 patrons of prostitutes were arrested by Nassau County police in the past 10 years.

“Anyone who thinks this is a victimless crime has not met a sex worker. There are victims, and the johns are the ones who are exploiting them,” said Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice in announcing the arrests. She stood next to a large poster headlined “Operation Flush the Johns” which depicted and named the 104 men arrested.

Copyright 2013 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

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