D.C. police say they have arrested 30 men in connection with prostitution in Northwest Washington as part of a program to cut down on the crime.
The men, who were charged with solicitation of prostitution, were arrested over the last week, police said. They said they arrested 10 people on July 14 and an additional 20 people since then.
The arrests also come after D.C. Council member Jack Evans recently unveiled a proposal that would allow police to tow and impound a vehicle when they have probable cause to believe it has been used by a so-called john. Evans dubbed his measure the “Honey, I lost the car” bill and said it is meant to combat what he called a rise in street prostitution.
Since January, D.C. police have conducted several stings at hotels near Thomas Circle in response to concerns from area business owners, church pastors and residents who said they still saw prostitutes along 14th Street NW, near the city’s now defunct red-light district.
In their operations, police lured men with fake ads on the Internet and then waited for them to knock on hotel doors.
Police have long targeted customers and said a single arrest can have devastating consequences for their jobs and families even if they are punished lightly in court. The District once had a “John School” designed to both shame men and to scare them about diseases they could catch, but it closed several years ago.
Prosecutors in the District have also placed a priority recently on pursuing such cases, including creating a Washington D.C. Human Trafficking Task Force.
Since 2009, about 70 defendants have been prosecuted in federal and superior courts on charges related to human trafficking, according to court officials.