NORRISTOWN, Pa. (CBS) — For the first time ever, these mugshots of six alleged “johns” accused of patronizing prostitution are being released by the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office in hopes of discouraging the sex trade along the Route 202 corridor in Upper Merion which has spiked 56 percent in the last few years.
“We’re doing something that we haven’t done in Montgomery County before, but it is certainly something that we’re starting to see across the country,” District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said.READ MORE: Ertz Family Foundation Breaks Ground On House Of Hope In North Philadelphia
Ferman says the suspects were caught in a “sting”, answering an ad placed online.
“The volume of people who responded to the ad was quite stunning. Just one ad generated over 300 responses,” Ferman said.READ MORE: Family Claims They Called 911 Several Times During Deadly Attempted Break-In But No One Answered, Philadelphia Police Now Investigating
When the suspects arrived at the pre-arranged meeting place, prosecutors say ,they found out the prostitute was, in fact, an undercover officer.
An arrest warrant claimed one alleged “john” in exchanged for a “GFE” (girlfriend experience) placed $150 on a table in the guest room for sexual services.
“What the johns need to know, what the customers need to know is any time you make that phone call or you respond to that ad, it might be us on the other side,” Ferman said.
Prosecutors say they will continue the “stings” and publicly releasing photos in hopes of curbing prostitution which, they say, spawns other crimes including women held captive in the sex trade by human traffickers.MORE NEWS: Chester County Child Care Worker Charged With Abusing 3 Toddlers