On July 24 undercover police in Portland, Oregon, arrested a 61-year-old man who allegedly responded to a fake advertisement for sex with a minor.
Posing as an underage girl, the bureau’s sex trafficking unit posted a fake ad soliciting sex and engaged in conversation with suspect William Moses. Eventually, Moses agreed to meet up in Southeast Portland under the assumption he was meeting with a minor for sex acts, reports Fox 12.
When Moses arrived at the house, he was promptly arrested by police. According to KOIN 6, he is facing charges of purchasing sex with a minor, attempting sex abuse, patronizing a prostitute, promoting prostitution, luring a minor, online sexual corruption and endangering a minor.
Oregon state law regards prostitution as a crime regardless of the age, but juvenile sex trafficking has become a greater focus for officials in recent years. With an abundance of strip clubs and online services, Portland has turned into a hub for commercial sexual exploitation of children, according to The Washington Times.
In a study conducted by Portland State University, Associate Professor Chris Carey, 469 children were identified as victims of commercial sexual exploitation in the Portland metro area between 2009 and 2013. The Huffington Post reports that this number could be even higher because many crimes go unrecorded.
While predators have been caught, other traffickers have been able to get away. In some cases, pimps and gangs harass witnesses to prevent them from testifying against a sex offender. Oregon prosecutors have taken a victim-centered approach by establishing a dedicated unit and educating children in schools, reports The Huffington Post.
The Portland Police Sex Trafficking Unit’s primary goal is to convict traffickers and help victims recover. Community members are asked to contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center or Sexual Assault Resource Center immediately if they know anyone who may be trafficking or exploited.