BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Bakersfield Police took on prostitution with two undercover operations this week.
Over the course of two nights 23ABC's cameras were rolling as eighteen suspects were cited or arrested in a prostitution and human trafficking investigation on Union Avenue, according to Bakersfield Police. Charges ranged from misdemeanors to felonies.
"We could sit here all night and go up and down Union ave. and arrest these girls for prostitution, but our main goal is to try and get these girls off the street." said Sgt. Daniel McAfee of the Bakersfield Police Department. "Try to identify the pimps, try to identify the ones that are being trafficked and build cases on the ones that are doing the trafficking.”
Wednesday night, undercover officers cited several women with misdemeanor prostitution charges in hopes of gaining intelligence that would lead them to make arrests for pimping.
“The root of the problem is not the girls out right here on the corner which we can pick off and cite and arrest on a nightly basis," said McAfee. "Our goal is to get to the root of it. Like how did she start there? Who she’s working for.”
Through their operation, BPD picked up Jaclyn Deatherage.
“I make it available for married men to go ahead and have an affair on their wives. And that’s not just. It’s not right. It’s a sin. And I am ashamed of myself,” she said.
Police led her to community resources and she led investigators to the man she says is her pimp, Gerald Marion.
Marion was arrested Wednesday on two felony weapon charges and two felonies for pandering and pimping.
Thursday officers performed an operation in the Union Avenue corridor to try and stop prostitution and human trafficking activity within the city. Officials say that the operation was a “John Sting" focused on people who actively seek prostitutes to solicit.
“I'd like to say its just your typical run of the mill lowlife, but that’s not the case,” said McAfee. "Could be anyone. It could be white collar. It could be somebody just getting off work. It could be somebody with a prestigious name in town. It could be anybody. I mean there’s no rhyme or reason to who is looking for that type of activity."
Undercover female officers posed as prostitutes on Union Ave. As vehicles pulled up and made deals with the women who they thought were prostitutes, police moved in and charged them for solicitation of prostitution or loitering for the purpose of engaging in prostitution.
During the investigation, Bakersfield Police arrested 17 people for prostitution related offenses. One person was arrested for a felony warrant, and another was issued a citation for jaywalking.
Below are the list of suspects and their offenses:
Arrested for Penal Code 647(b)(2)- Solicitation of Prostitution
Arrested for Penal Code 653.22(a)- Loitering for the Purpose of Engaging in Prostitution
Arrested for Penal Code 288.4(b)- Arranging a Meeting for Sex Acts with a Person Believed to be Under 18
Anyone with information related to these investigations, or human trafficking/prostitution activity within the city is encouraged to contact the Bakersfield Police Department at (661)327-7111.