(BCN) – San Rafael police on Tuesday announced that a sting operation launched by them and several other agencies had nabbed two men suspected of attempting to solicit minors for lewd purposes, otherwise known as underage prostitution.

Authorities conducted their six-hour operation at a San Rafael hotel on Friday. Ads were placed online on sites that “typically look for women who are offering sexual services for pay,” police said. Law enforcement specifically targeted anyone looking for female juveniles who might be trafficked and buyers seeking minors.

Jose Capir Tucubal, 31, of San Rafael, was arrested through the operation for allegedly agreeing to exchange money for sex acts with a 16-year-old minor. Yefrin Deleon Gomez, 22, also of San Rafael, was arrested on suspicion of the same thing, attempting to initiate an exchange of money for sex acts with a 16-year-old minor. Both crimes are felonies.

A female was also detained in the operation; she had agreed to come to the hotel for sex acts, police said. She was provided resources and later released. Police agencies all over the country have begun to treat women arrested for some sex work as victims and not criminals and many are given information about services, assistance and benefits available to them instead of jail time.

A 24-year-old Vacaville resident, Jason Jermaine Wright, was found in the woman’s vehicle and was arrested on suspicion of aiding the woman in prostitution, a misdemeanor.

The endeavor involved members of the Marin County Coalition to End Human Trafficking, which includes the California Highway Patrol, Community Violence Solutions; the Fairfax, Novato, Sausalito and San Rafael police departments, the Marin County Sheriff’s, Probation, and District Attorney’s offices, and the Northern California Regional Intelligence Center.

Human trafficking involves holding people against their will and forcing them into sex work or even labor such as restaurant or farm work; the trafficking can also involve coercion and deceit, such as a man becoming romantically involved with a vulnerable minor and then forcing him or her to become a prostitute.

According to the coalition, the Bay Area is one of the nation’s largest hubs for the problem. Marin has not released specific statistics of the problem there, but the FBI has listed the North Bay and San Francisco as among the top areas for the practice in the country, according to the city of San Rafael.

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