A sting operation by the Lebanon Police ended in the arrest of five alleged prostitutes and nine of their customers. They have all been charged with misdemeanors.
Prostitution in the digital era happens less on the street and more online through classifieds websites like backpage.com.
That's one of the websites Lebanon Police Chief Richard Mello used to investigate the activity that led to the latest batch of arrests in the city.
Over the course of a month, officers placed decoy ads and watched as calls flooded in soliciting sexual services.
“We utilize a number of techniques in terms of email, text, phone calls, what have you, and we do put ads out there acting as prostitutes," he told VPR in his office. "We're inundated with messages and phone calls and texts messages."
All of those arrested were over the age of 18 and appeared to be working alone.
But Mello and other law enforcement agencies agree that in many cases, prostitution in this area and around the country is part of a larger structure of human-trafficking.
Update 6:14 p.m. The headline of this post was updated.