The effort to deter the sex trafficking of children in Iowa netted seven arrests this week in Council Bluffs. Council Bluffs Police Sergeant Bob Christensen said the prostitution sting was conducted Wednesday at a local motel.

The operation involved undercover officers who placed both online and print ads to try and lure prostitutes or their customers into a motel room. Five women and two men, all from Omaha, were charged with suspicion of prostitution.

Christensen noted the primary target of such sting operations is the people who are offering sex with teenagers. “We’re really trying to target the people that are forcing young girls, under the age of 18, into prostitution,” Christensen said.

“We need to get them (the girls) some help and get them out of that business.” In Council Bluffs, officers have been conducting the sting operations around once a month. In April, 17 people were arrested in a two-day operation, also held in a Council Bluffs motel.

“We’re going to be running these operations all the time, so if you’re doing this kind of stuff, you need to stop,” Christensen said.

By Ric Hanson, KJAN, Atlantic