An on-going operation to deter the sex trafficking of children netted seven arrests Wednesday, in Council Bluffs. Council Bluffs Police Sgt. Bob Christensen, who is with the Vice/Narcotics Division, told KJAN News the prostitution sting, part of the “Great Plains Lost Innocence Task Force, was conducted at a Bluffs’ motel, with the cooperation of the Southwest Iowa Narcotics Task Force, and FBI. He says they are targeting teenage or child prostitution, by looking at ads both online and in print. If the ad offers or asks for young girls, the Task Force will place their own ads, and try to lure prostitutes or their customers, into a motel room. Once in the room, he says, most of the prostitutes or customers, both male and female, turn out to adults. He says once money is offered or requested for a sex act, the persons involved are cooperative for the most part, when confronted, but sometimes they’re not.
Sgt. Christensen says both male and female undercover officers are used in the sting. Taken into custody on Suspicion of Prostitution charges, were five women: 23-year old’s Charla Bulcalf and Seanna Clemmon, 25-year old’s Abigail Rodriquez and Jessica Mackey, and 24-year old Courtney Evans, all of whom were from Omaha. Two men, 59-year old Timothy A. Jensen, and 30-year old Jeremy Jensen (no relation) were also arrested on Suspicion of Prostitution. Both are from the Omaha area.
Christensen said Wednesday’s stormy weather may have played a role in how many actual perps and prostitutes they were able to nab, but he’s still satisfied with the results. He said they try and run these types of operations every couple of months, and they typically end up making about 10 arrests each time. The fact Wednesday wasn’t a “pay day” for most people seeking those types of services, also may have factored into the low response. In April, 17 people were arrested in a two-day operation, also held in a Council Bluffs motel. Christensen has some advice for those who seek prostitutes or those who offer sexual services for pay…He said “We’re going to be operations all the time, so if you’re doing this kind of stuff, you need to stop.”
The main purpose of the sting, he said, is not to try and lure men, regardless of age into the motels to arrest them. He says they’re trying to target the people who are forcing young girls into prostitution. Some of those girls start as early as 13- or 14-years of age.