KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- If you head to www.backpage.com, you can find classified ads for just about everything - including escorts.
"Any time money changes hands for any type of sexual favor, it's illegal," said Captain Wolfie May, with the Knox County Sheriff's Office.
So Knox County Sheriff's Deputies decided to crack down on the problem. About a month and a half ago, they started a sting operation - contacting escorts online, and asking to meet at local hotels.
"The girls have ads, show pictures - they're scantily-clothed. Gives a name, a phone number. And usually they tell how much for a half hour or a full hour. It ranges anywhere from $80 a half hour, to $200 an hour," said May.
According to warrants, Jessica Giles wanted $160 for one hour of sexual favors. The rate for Kristi Jones: $200 an hour. Deputies arrested them at a hotel on North Peters Road in Knoxville on Wednesday. They also arrested Steven Bishop, who was waiting for Jones in the car while she was inside with undercover detectives.
"He was using the phone. He was actually setting up the dates by texting and it was actually his phone, his vehicle, she was driving," said May.
May said so far, they've busted 15 people as part of the sting. He said the sex business is just part of the crime - most are doing business to get money for drugs.
Prostitution Sting Arrests:
Melissa Hasty, 29
Ashley Schostek, 25
Kristin Lowry, 34
Talor Treece, 22
Tanya Abbs, 26
Lisa Wells, 28
Danell Winans, 36
Dustin Moore, 24
Jessica Barlow, 24
Paula Dishman, 24
Tiffany Barnhart, 20
Tavaris Green, 27
Jessica Giles, 22
Kristi Jones, 26
Steven Bishop, 34
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