Oakland, Calif. Website Features Page to End Sex Trafficking, Includes Photos of Suspects

Officer Frank Bonifacio said the department is dedicated to identifying and rescuing victims of trafficking, arresting those who exploit them and hopes that the possibility of public exposure on the site will act as a deterrent.

by Harry Harris, McClatchy News Service / July 2, 2014

Mug shots of suspected pimps and those charged with soliciting prostitutes will now be regularly posted on the Oakland police website, in hopes the chance of public exposure will serve as a deterrent.

The new page on the Oakland department's website launched June 27 with photos of six men charged as pimps and nine men charged with solicitation of prostitution or related offenses.

The page, titled "Enough -- Putting an End to Sex Trafficking in Oakland" will display booking pictures of suspects arrested and charged with soliciting prostitution and profiting from prostitution.

The website will also include the person's name, date of birth, city of residence and date of arrest. Photos and information will be updated twice a month.

It is another tool in the department's commitment to combating sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation, Officer Frank Bonifacio said.

Richmond and Sacramento police also post pictures of those arrested on suspicion of pimping and soliciting -- without charges being filed. Fresno police post pictures of those arrested who have also been charged, like Oakland is doing, officials said.

It is hoped that knowing their actions could result in public exposure will "deter (customers and pimps) from patronizing acts of prostitution or providing and profiting from prostitution," Bonifacio said. He said the department had input from the district attorney and city attorney's office before deciding to post the pictures.

Oakland unfortunately has a reputation as a centerpoint for human trafficking, with some of the rescued victims as young as 13.

Bonifacio said the department is dedicated to identifying and rescuing victims of trafficking and locating and arresting those who exploit them. Police also work closely with advocate groups to provide different services for rescued victims, he said.

©2014 The Oakland Tribune (Oakland, Calif.)

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