Jul 28, 2014
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Hooker! (Tweet), Hooker! (Tweet): Prince George's Police Get Flak For Plans To Live Tweet Prostitution Sting

A new way to combat the oldest profession.

Hooker! (Tweet), Hooker! (Tweet): Prince George's Police Get Flak For Plans To Live Tweet Prostitution Sting

The Prince George's Police Department is coming under some heavy criticism for plans to live Tweet an upcoming prostitution sting, but vice officers say customers are the targets not the girls and women involved.

Plans by the department to Tweet the sting operation, using the hashtag #PGPDVice, have been met on social media with support for the prostitutes and against anything that would stigmatize them, including the many who are victims of sex-traffickers.

The department won’t reveal when or where the sting will occur, but encouraged the public to follow @PGPDNews and #PGPDVice as “we take you along for the takedowns.”

"Public shaming and violence against sex workers. Absolutely disgusting," came one Tweeted response.

Several posts in the Twittersphere referenced the public relations disaster that was the New York Police Department's campaign for people to Tweet pictures of friendly officers. Instead, the hashtag was taken over by Tweets of alleged police brutality.

The reaction was intense enough that the police department decided to explain further on its blog that the Twitter feed would focus on johns, not the prostitutes.

"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," the post said in part. "Some young girls and women involved in prostitution are victims of human trafficking. Our Vice Unit regularly helps trafficked women connect with groups and advocates who help them escape the dangerous sex trade.

"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."

A woman who identified herself as Katy Otto or @exfkaty on Twitter  wrote in response to the campaign: “#PGPCVice I grew up in PG County and I am disgusted that you would live tweet sting operation arresting sex workers @PGPDNews - for shame.”


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