Prostitution arrests reveal a larger sex trade on Bainbridge

Managed to sit down today with the detective leading the ongoing investigation that led to four prostitution arrests at a Bainbridge hotel over the weekend.

The story’s below…

The four women arrested at a Bainbridge Island hotel over the weekend likely represent only a fraction of the island’s illicit sex trade, according to Bainbridge police.

“If we had more time and resources, I think people would be horrifically surprised by the number of arrests we could have made,” Det. Trevor Ziemba said, referring to the scope of prostitution activity police uncovered in a multi-agency investigation and sting operation.

Ziemba believes the last prostitution-related arrest to occur on the island was over 15 years ago.

The four suspects were arrested on misdemeanor prostitution charges early Saturday morning. Additional felony charges – including prostitution promotion and providing a venue for prostitution – are pending the investigation’s culmination. The suspects were booked and released from the Kitsap County Jail during the weekend.

Police would not disclose the suspects’ names or ages, but confirmed that they are over 18 years old and that two are Bremerton residents and two are Seattle residents. Police declined to name the hotel where arrests occurred. The hotel had been used in cooperation with police as a staging location for the sting.

Bainbridge police made the arrests following a joint investigation with the Bremerton Police Department, Seattle Police Department’s vice squad, Washington State Patrol and the Naval Criminal Investigation Service.

Posing as clients, undercover officers invited the prostitutes to Bainbridge via their promotional websites.

“Most people would be mortified if they saw how easy these Internet sites are to find,” Ziemba said. “They’re very common, very public and very blatant.”

Police believe the prostitutes are part of larger sex-trade rings that regularly operate in the area.

“Based on the intelligence we gathered, we know this is not the first time these girls have been to the island,” Ziemba said.

The island’s wealth and the perception that it is free of serious criminal industries makes it an enticing place for prostitutes to operate, police said.

Ziemba understands that the presence of a sex trade may surprise some islanders.

“We like to think that it’s a small, safe community,” he said. “But when you live in or near any large metropolitan area, you have these sorts of activities.”

Conducted largely on the Internet and behind closed doors, prostitution often falls under the radar of police and residents.

“A lot of people think prostitutes walk the streets like in a B-rated movie,” he said. “But prostitution is a tremendously profitable industry. It is a very organized. Circuits of girls travel all over the country with groups that make a lot of money off them.”

Bainbridge police don’t actively seek out prostitution crimes. They pursued this case because strong evidence was presented to them through an informant.

“We were able to take a proactive approach because of the intellegence we gathered,” Ziemba said. “We weren’t surprised by the results but it was bigger than we anticipated.”

8 thoughts on “Prostitution arrests reveal a larger sex trade on Bainbridge

  1. What gives with this behavior on OUR ISLAND? This ancient trade should not be allowed here. After all Bainbridge is an idyllic isle where we have no political corruption, no teenage vandalism to police cars, no arson, no greed and no meanness Have we lost the Garden of Eden? Why? I am shocked.

  2. Apparently some of the yuppies on BI are finding creative ways of dealing with the current economic crisis.

  3. I see a series of hand stenciled signs[on genuine recycled political signs]in our future, with clever slogans like,$$ TAX THE TARTS $$, $$ PAY TO PLAY $$, and of course, that old favorite, $$ DRILL NOW $$.

  4. Stalker crime reader has reality problems. The signs say STOP PAY-TO- PLAY BI TV. All of the 50 viewers of the crime report on pay-to-play tv will wince at the mutilation of new BI cottage industry story by the acid blotter.

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