Recently it was revealed that two 17-year-olds and an 18-year-old were arrested after Detroit police claim the teens were interfering in a prostitution sting. The teens are now filing suit against police, saying they were mistreated when police ordered them out of a vehicle and handcuffed them. According to news reports two of the teens were waiting for the third to get off work while simultaneously police were conducting a prostitution sting at a CVS across the street.
Police claim the teens were trying to warn a relative not to have any dealings with a prostitute who was undercover, however their lawyers maintain this behavior isn’t a crime. Ultimately, the teens were helping to stop a crime regardless of their intentions. A photo taken and posted via Snap Chat allegedly made the teens feel humiliated. Two of the teens were minors, and news reports claim police drove all three around before dropping them off and telling them to walk to Dearborn, their home. Sex crimes defense attorneys want to uncover the police officers’ motive, although criminal charges against the teens were dropped in August.
When it comes to any type of sex crime, police often become overzealous in their efforts to pursue those they believe are involved and file criminal charges. Human trafficking, prostitution, and the growing concern of solicitation online using Facebook and other social media platforms along with advertising sites such as Craigslist and Backpage has resulted in state law enforcement and the FBI focusing intently on these crimes.
Police in Michigan (or any state for that matter) do make mistakes; innocent people often find themselves the focus of an investigation or even under arrest for being involved in a sex sting operation. In some cases, such as the one above involving three teens, there may be no involvement – just allegations of interfering.
Prostitution isn’t the only activity police focus on when conducting a sex sting. They will look for evidence of solicitation, soliciting sex from someone who is 17 or younger (a minor in Michigan), transporting someone with the intention of getting that person to engage in prostitution or even causing an individual to be transported, detaining an individual (such as holding someone in a home) to force that person into engaging in sex acts in exchange for pay, and more. Additionally anyone who accepts the pay or earnings of an individual who prostitutes him- or her may face felony charges.
Police often “entrap” or convince someone who is innocent to engage or become involved in a sex crime. People are often convinced by law enforcement to do something they would not ordinarily do when investigators are conducting a sex sting. Ultimately, police may entrap a person who would never have engaged in a crime on his or her own without the force of police. Unfortunately victims of entrapment often find themselves facing criminal charges, although it may have actually been police engaged in an undercover operation who caused the crime to be committed.
Regardless of whether entrapment occurred, those facing sex crime charges must work with a skilled defense lawyer to defend against the charges and avoid serious consequences including jail/prison time, registration as a sex offender, a lifelong criminal record and more. There are a variety of defenses that may prove effective in fighting sex sting charges depending on the offense, circumstances, etc.