By Lt. Chris Lawler, Lakewood Police Department
LAKEWOOD – On December 5th, 2013 at approximately 6:00PM, Detectives/Investigators with the South Sound Child Exploitation Task Force (SSCETF) and the Missing and Exploited Children’s Task Force (MECTF) conducted an undercover operation at the 6700 block of South C Street in Tacoma to target juvenile prostitutes and their pimps. The investigation involved juvenile females who use Craigslist or Backpage to advertise their services.
A “date” was set up with a juvenile female, who got into the undercover officer’s vehicle after being called by phone. Once an offer and agreement was made for a sex act, the female was taken into custody without incident. The juvenile female admitted that she was 15 years old and has been a prostitute since she was 13. She explained that she only participates in prostitution to support her methamphetamine drug habit.
The South Sound Child Exploitation Task Force (SSCETF) is made up from Detectives/Investigators from the Lakewood Police Department, the Department of Homeland Security Investigations, the Tacoma Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. MECTF is made up from detectives from the Washington State Patrol and Lakewood Police Department. These agencies work together to combat the ever growing problem of juvenile prostitution by targeting the pimps and getting the juvenile females off the street.