East Bay authorities arrested 45 suspected sex buyers and two suspected sex traffickers as part of a operation that netted more than 500 arrests nationwide, Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley said Friday.
Across the country, 26 law enforcement agencies across 11 states, participated in the five-week sting.
In the East Bay, the arrests were the result of four covert operations, by Oakland and Hayward police and Alameda County Sheriff's Office units.
Since it started in 2011, the National "John" Suppression Initiative, led by the Cook County Sheriff in Chicago, Illinois, has resulted in 9,500 sex buyers arrested, with more than 140 participating agencies.
Since the passage of California's anti-trafficking law in 2006, the Alameda County District Attorney's Office has prosecuted more than 600 human traffickers for cases mostly involving young women and minors as victims.
"Human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal enterprise in our country," says DA O'Malley, "and we must address the reality that it is being funded by the buyers."