Seattle police officers have taught officers elsewhere how to run a “hotel op,” an Internet sting designed to catch men who buy sex. Since June, says the Seattle Times, Seattle police and six other King County law-enforcement agencies have conducted similar stings as part of a program Prosecutor Dan Satterberg is announcing today. The grant-funded, national “CEASE Network” is aimed at holding men accountable for fueling the demand side of the sex trade and at deterring them by increasing their risk of getting caught. Cities Empowered Against Sexual Exploitation (CEASE) started in Boston, Denver and Seattle this year, with seven more cities, including Portland, Chicago and Phoenix, set to launch their own initiatives this month.
Increased stings, most of them online, are part of the effort, known locally as the “Buyer Beware” program, which has an overall goal of decreasing local demand for prostitution by 20 percent in two years. “The Internet has caused an explosion” in sex buying, said Lina Nealo of the Massachusetts-based Demand Abolition, which is providing the $80,000 in funding each year of the two-year initiative in King County. “The Internet has really made it risk-free to buyers … It's created a market that wasn't there before, men who wouldn't go on the street to encounter someone who was prostituting,” Satterberg said. “They're comfortable on the computer, and with a couple clicks of a mouse, they can order someone up for sex.”