Those looking for love near Southwest 8th Street and Southwest 43rd Avenue may find the area slightly less populated.
Miami-Dade Police working undercover in the area Thursday evening arrested 22 johns and 5 prostitutes during "Operation Dear John," which Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernadez Rundle said was a joint effort designed to "bring pressure on customers feeding the bedrock of human trafficking."
One of the women was 19 years old, Rundle's office announced, and some johns face additional charges including illegal drug, weapon, and gun possession charges.
Officials said the sting was part of a renewed local strategy to combat human trafficking by reducing demand.
“Not many businesses, legal or illegal, function without customers,” Ed Griffith, spokesperson for the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office, told HuffPost Miami. “This is is only one facet of the effort. It is not an answer alone, but it is in conjunction with many other state efforts.”
The State Attorney's Office said it was committed to linking prostitutes with social service organizations that can help them escape the streets.
“Juvenile prostitution and forced prostitution are the ugly, ugly crimes at the heart of human trafficking activities,” Fernandez Rundle said. “To stop human trafficking, we must attack the problem from many directions with all the enforcement and social service tools at our disposal. This is an effort we must succeed with.”
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