LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- LMPD arrested four people for allegedly trying to meet teenage girls for sex on Kentucky Derby weekend.
Sgt. Tim Stokes with the LMPD Sex Crimes Unit said the arrests were part of an undercover sting.
"Ads for a 15-year-old undercover officer were placed on sites known for the purchase of sex," Stokes said. "Forty-one individuals called the ad phone number. Of those, we had contact with 17 different individuals, and as a result, four individuals were arrested."
The suspects are Jackson Jones, Deontae James and Ronnie Johnson, all from the Kentuckiana area, and Mohith Akula, who is from Santa Clara, Calif.
But targeting the offenders was only part of the undercover sting.
"We targeted those women that appeared to be victims of human trafficking or appeared to be underage," Stokes said.
Undercover detectives also reached out to more than 150 adult websites and made contact with 13 women in the sex industry. However, instead of jail, the women were offered a second chance.
"Each of the women was given an opportunity to speak with advocates where they were provided resources and the opportunity to gain assistance," Stokes said.
Summer Dickerson, founder of Women of the Well, said it's about time victims are offered help instead of a ride to jail.
"I love it. I absolutely love it," Dickerson said. "We have locked people up for some many years. That's a very temporary solution to such a bad thing."
Dickerson escaped the industry several years ago and is now working to help others do the same. That includes the women brought in by LMPD.
"I hope from the sting and everything I did this weekend, that I am able to build a relationship with some of these women," she said.
Meanwhile, LMPD feels confident the suspects had bad intentions.
"If it had not have been me or someone like me in that target room, we would have absolutely had 15-year-old victim of a sexual assault," Stokes said.
LMPD said the undercover stings will continue year-round, however, when, where and how will always be top secret
The suspects were all arraigned Monday morning. The men are all charged with promoting human trafficking.
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