Police in Maryland will be live-tweeting a prostitution sting this week. The Thursday announcement was met with instant social media backlash, with people expressing concern that the tweets would focus on the prostitutes and not the johns, despite the department's initial statement below.
"The PGPD's Vice Unit will conduct a prostitution sting that targets those soliciting prostitutes and we'll tweet it out as it happens," Prince George’s County Police Department announced on its website Thursday. "We won't tell you when or where, other than it's somewhere in the county sometime next week."
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"From the ads to the arrests, we'll show you how the PGPD is battling the oldest profession," the announcement continued. "Suspect photos and information will be tweeted."
Soon after the announcement was made, several individuals questioned the police department's motivation in the live-tweet campaign, which they assumed would be focused on publicly shaming prostitutes online.
In response to the backlash, the police department posted a message on its website Thursday night, further clarifying that the focus of their live-tweet prostitution sting would be the Johns, and not the prostitutes themselves, ABC News reported
"Our Vice Unit will target those who choose to solicit a prostitute, not prostitutes themselves," the police department wrote online. "The intent all along has been to put on notice and/or arrest the very people who exploit women and even young girls in our community. Some young girls and women involved in prostitution are victims of human trafficking."
"We're hoping the advance notice we've provided acts as a deterrent to would-be johns who choose to engage in this illegal behavior," the police statement continued. "This is another example of our department's commitment to transparency."
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