Cranston police respond to ACLU over human trafficking bust

By The Associated Press

CRANSTON, R.I. (AP) – Cranston Police are defending a recent human trafficking sting after the Rhode Island chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union criticized the operation for arresting adults seeking consensual sex.            

Police Chief Michael J. Winquist issued a statement Monday saying these operations target the people who make human trafficking profitable. He says even one arrest for human trafficking makes the operation successful.              

The ACLU on Sunday issued a statement saying the operation conflated trafficking with prostitution, which harms victims and penalizes consenting adults.              

A team that included federal, state, and local officials conducted the operations last week in Cranston.              

Seventeen people were arrested, including one woman charged with prostitution and human trafficking. Fourteen men were charged with procurement of sexual conduct for a fee.

© The Associated Press/WLNE-TV 2016