SAN JOSE, Calif. (KTVU) - With the Super Bowl days away, law enforcement around the Bay Area is cracking down on human trafficking. KTVU was there as officers in the South Bay conducted a two-day undercover operation at a downtown San Jose hotel, where they made 12 arrests.
Some of the people arrested had responded to ad online for a "hot and sexy brunette.” They agreed to meet at a downtown San Jose hotel for sex. The men didn’t realize that the woman they were meeting was an undercover San Jose police officer.
In another room, a dozen officers from a human trafficking task force comprised of San Jose and Milpitas Police as well as the FBI were watching the “dates” from a hidden police surveillance camera.
In one case, a man tried to broker a deal for his friends and said the asking price was too low with the Super Bowl around the corner.
“Several agencies in the Bay Area are taking a stand with a zero tolerance attitude towards human trafficking and child exploitation,” said Sgt. Brian Spears of San Jose Police.
In the two hours, KTVU was there, police nabbed four men who were all San Jose residents. One man was willing to exchange $35 and marijuana.
One man who was arrested told KTVU he was lonely. He claimed it was his first time and it took him 10-20 minutes to find a “date” online.
The task force’s main purpose is to find minors who are soliciting sex.
Another undercover cop specifically looks for ads where the girls look young. The problem is most of the time the photos aren't real. When they do find underage prostitutes, they don't arrest them but offer help.
“It’s a shock,” said Sgt. Spears. “The numbers, calls for service, reports are increasing.”
The youngest girl they've encountered was 12 years old. They hope all these operations will send a strong message as visitors make their way to the Bay Area for Super Bowl 50.
“If you believe you are going to come to San Jose and you believe you are going to exploit a young lady or male, you are completely wrong,” said Sgt. Spears. “You should focus on the Super Bowl because I’m focused on you.”