A 27-year-old Kenyan man is among 18 suspects arrested following a prostitution sting in Coweta County, Georgia last week.
The two-day operation was carried out at a local hotel by Coweta County Sheriff’s Office in collaboration with the Homeland Security Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation Group, the Newnan Police Department Vice Unit, Troup County Sheriff’s Office, Fayetteville Police Department, among other agencies.
Analysts with the sheriff’s office used social media to identify several suspected advertisements for prostitution, The Newnan Times-Herald reported.
Lt. Edwin Rivera from the sheriff’s office said investigators then made multiple phone, video calls, and text messages to confirm commitments for the exchange of sexual acts for cash.
He added that crucial information was obtained during the operation to help detectives in investigating suspected human trafficking offense.
"Although we didn't get a direct outcry, there were indications they were victims of human trafficking and offered the appropriate resources,” he said.
"Our sole goal is attempting to locate victims of human trafficking. In order to do that, we have to arrest women who are advertising as escorts, and reverse that with undercover officers posing as prostitutes to get the John’s to come in."
58-year-old Malcolm Edward Durden Jr., who was charged with pandering and narcotics possession, was the only local resident nabbed during the swoop.
The Kenyan man arrested during the operation was identified as Bruce Ngatia Gikunju-Wanjohi of Lithia Springs, Georgia.
He was charged with pandering—the practice of procuring a person to be used for, or to travel for, prostitution. It includes inducing, encouraging, or forcing someone to engage in or continue to engage in prostitution.