Its county seat and largest city is Provoand the population is roughlyProstitution and sex trafficking are well-documented problems within several of the cities and unincorporated areas of the county.
For example, the UCSO conducted an undercover operation in July to identify a year-old Utah County juvenile who was a victim of human trafficking. The UCSO said that the juvenile is now living with family and receiving services. In May,the Provo and Orem police departments collaborated on an undercover sting operation in Utah County that netted 13 arrests of men accused of trying to lure minors on the internet to meet for paid sexual abuse.
Police initiated conversations with the suspects on sites and apps such as Grindr, Whisper and Craigslist. He stated he had done this sort of thing in the past and had a system to avoid people getting caught. The man was booked into the Utah County Jail for investigation of exploiting a prostitute, patronizing a prostitute, two counts of lewdness, and sexual battery.
For example, in May,the Provo Police Department officers posted on Craigslist and Back advertising sex for sale. Two undercover female officers made 11 appointments for a four- to five-hour window on May 7, and nine men showed up offering to pay for sex.
The men were all arrested and cited with a class B misdemeanor of patronizing a prostitute. Indeputies and officers with the Lehi Police Department placed an ad on social media, and 18 different people responded to the ad, reportedly arranging to meet with people they believed to be prostitutes.
Of those 18 people, charges of prostitution, a class B misdemeanor, and patronizing a prostitute, a class A misdemeanor were brought. According to the UCSO, those who were charged with prostitution were cited and released, and those who were charged with patronizing a prostitute were arrested and booked into the Utah County Jail.
In another undercover operation, 23 additional people were either arrested or cited, bringing the total of arrests from the operations to 41 individuals. One was booked into the Utah County Jail on suspicion of exploiting a prostitute, a third-degree felony and misdemeanor charges of sexual battery, patronizing a prostitute and two counts of lewdness.
A another was arrested and booked into the Utah County Jail on nine counts of enticing a minor over the internet, all second-degree felonies. He had reportedly talked online to an undercover officer who he thought was a mother of and 6-year-old girls. According to the UCSO, the man told the officer that he wanted the young girls to perform oral sex on him and that he wanted to have other sexual contact with the 6-year-old girl.
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