BURLINGTON (AP) -- Seven men implicated in a prostitution sting will be getting schooled on the dangers of the sex trade instead of going to court, state law enforcement officials announced Wednesday.
The men, caught in a South Burlington sting last month, will attend a class "on understanding the complex circumstances that underlie prostitution" instead of facing prosecution, Chittenden County State’s Attorney T.J. Donovan said.
"Prostitution can involve violence against women, addiction and in some circumstances can be human trafficking," Donovan said in a statement. "It’s important that we educate community members that prostitution is far more complex and dangerous than just a business transaction."
Last month, the South Burlington Police Department posted a fake prostitution advertisement online. Police said responses started pouring in just minutes after the ad was posted on a site featuring similar ads. Over six hours, 40 responses came in, they said.
Prospective clients were told to meet at the Anchorage Inn, which agreed to work with police on the sting.
Six men caught were from Vermont, and one was from New Hampshire. They were scheduled to appear in Superior Court in Burlington on Thursday.
The class will be run by Vermont Human Trafficking Task Force member Edith Klimoski, who’s also the director of Give Way to Freedom, a private foundation focused on human trafficking outreach and prevention.
Klimoski has experience training and lecturing about human trafficking. She has worked with victim services providers, law enforcement, sexual-assault nurse examiners, runaway and homeless youth services providers and students, officials said.