WIS goes undercover on investigation with officer posing as prostitute

(Columbia) February 9, 2006 - Prostitution is a big problem in the Midlands, especially on Two Notch Road. WIS' Maggie Alexander went undercover with law enforcement officers to see the problem firsthand.

She saw several unsuspecting men trying to negotiate for sex. One man only had $2.

WIS' cameras caught one exchange with the undercover officer:

Officer: "I got to know what you want, how much you willing to pay first?"

Suspect: "Show me your goods."

Officer: "Not going to let you look. Got to make the deal before I let you look."

Columbia police are conducting a special operation trying to catch men soliciting sex at a well known area for prostitution, Two Notch Road.

Sergeant Kenny Hite says, "It has been a problem for so long. People know where to come and people have a demand for it, people out here, making some money."

Sgt. Hite says the people who make up the clientele can surprise you, "They could be your next door neighbor, from all walks of life. Couldn't tell you one group we see out here."

Trying to bust prostitution is a frustrating job. That's because, according to Sgt. Hite, "It's a misdemeanor. If we make an arrest in the morning they'll be out in the evening before we finish their paperwork."

But the officers keep doing their job, "We set up sting operations out here every now and then. It quells the problem, but then it picks back up."

At least for the next few weeks police anticipate slow business. Police made a total of seven arrests while WIS was with them. They call that slow.

Reported by Maggie Alexander

Posted 11:20pm by Chantelle Janelle