A recent undercover operation in the Platte City area netted five arrests on suspicions of prostitution but none related to potential human trafficking activities that might be occurring in the Northland. According to a Platte City Police Department spokesperson, authorities received information about a specific individual in Platte City reported to be engaging in illegal sex acts. The Platte County Sheriff’s Department received a similar tip, and the two agencies teamed up to conduct the recent operation, which occurred some time in the week prior to Tuesday, March 24.
Undercover officers secured rooms at an unnamed local hotel and used social media and phone calls to make contact with parties advertising adult entertainment activities, including massages, body rubs and escort services. Although those activities are not illegal,
“From the ads, you can tell which places are engaging in reputable massages and those that aren’t,” Det. Al DeValkenaere of the Platte City Police Department said.
Four women responded to the requests and later, while at the hotel, agreed to perform sexual acts for money. After money was exchanged, each woman was arrested and booked before being released, pending charges.
As of Tuesday, March 24, no charges have been filed from arrests made during the sting.
An unnamed male became the fifth person arrested. He accompanied one of the females to the hotel and was taken into custody on an outstanding warrant, and DeValkenaere said the individual is suspected of serving as a bodyguard or pimp.
The person named in the tip did not respond to invitations and was not among those arrested.
DeValkenaere said the agencies plan to assess what was learned and gained from this operation before attempting similar projects in the future. The reports of possible human trafficking, including that of minors, raises the biggest concern for authorities, and they plan to continue investigating.