Police say stings also target customers

HARLINGEN – A prostitution sting in Harlingen has a group of people upset.

They say police shouldn’t just be arresting the women involved in prostitution.

“We need to switch it around to where we can find also the men that are patronizing this type of behavior. And we need to arrest them and have them held accountable for what they’re doing,” says Maria Auggrie, one of the protestors.

Police say they already do.

“We also have reverse prostitution stings where officers go undercover and arrest the alleged ‘Johns’ who actually solicit the prostitutes. We have made arrests like that in the past as well,” explains David Osborne of the Harlingen Police Department.

Auggrie tells us someone needs to be a voice for the women.

“A lot women – because they’re from a low social economic background or because they’re from certain parts of the United States – they are ignored. And I think a lot of that is going on here,” she says.

Osborne says the department can only do so much.

“Obviously we can’t do this every week, because the officers wouldn’t be as effective out there on the streets, arresting prostitutes every day of the week,” he says.

He tells us they’ll continue to go after all people involved in the pay-for-sex business, male or female.

Six women were arrested for prostitution last week. That brings the total of women arrested for prostitution to 10 so far in 2008.

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