Police Arrest Prostitutes, Customers

City’s Vice Unit Working to Identify Pimps and Victims of Human Trafficking

The Santa Barbara Police Department’s Vice Unit has made a number of prostitution-related arrests in recent months, and the individuals depicted in the photographs below were cited for soliciting or agreeing to engage in prostitution.

The primary goal of this operation is to identify victims of human trafficking who are often unwilling participants in the sex trade, and are sometimes minors,” said police spokesperson Sgt. Riley Harwood in a prepared statement. “Through the use of fear, violence, and manipulation, individuals referred to as ‘pimps’ force these victims to work as prostitutes.”

Harwood pointed to the 2013 arrest and recent conviction of Brannon Pitcher, who was sentenced to 38 years to life in prison for two counts of human trafficking, as a “notable example of this type of crime taking place in our community.”

Prostitution is advertised and solicited throughout Santa Barbara County in a variety of ways, Harwood went on, and SBPD detectives use these means to identify suspected prostitutes and their customers. “In each instance, efforts were made to determine if the prostitutes were victims of human trafficking and to identify individuals acting as pimps, with the objective of bringing the suspects to justice and providing assistance to the victims,” he said.

All of the following individuals have been charged by the District Attorney’s Office with a prostitution-related crime.

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