SALEM, Ore. – A prostitute walked past an entrance to the Salem Police Department and uniformed officers to an unmarked door at police headquarter to make contact with a “John” she met online, police said.

Instead of exchanging money for sex acts, however, the 20-year-old Portland woman was greeted by detectives and taken into custody on charges of prostitution and promoting prostitution, police said.

The incident happened January 11, which was National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, police said. The Salem Police Department issued a press release about the arrest on January 24.

Jail records indicate Smith was released January 14 on her own recognizance.

An undercover street crimes detective had been communicating with a woman online through an internet site, by phone and by text message for a couple of days, police said. The communications consisted of negotiations for sexual activity in exchange for money.

On January 11, the suspect agreed to come to Salem from Portland in order to perform sexual acts in exchange for money, and she was directed to an unmarked door of the Salem Police Department, police said.

The suspect followed the directions to the door and attempted to make contact with who she believed was a “John” at that location. Instead, she was contacted by detectives and taken into custody without incident.

Police identified the woman as Christal D. Smith, 20, of Portland. She was taken into custody and booked into the Marion County Jail on charges of prostitution and promoting prostitution.

In order to get to the door where she was arrested, the suspect walked through a courtyard where the clearly marked public entrance to the Salem Police Department is located, police said. She also walked past several uniformed police officers.

Police urged anyone caught up in prostitution to seek help. The Northwest Human Services Crisis and Information Hotline is available 24-hours day at 1-800-560-5535 and the Mid-Valley Women’s Crisis Service can be reached at their 24-hour crisis line at 503-399-7722.
The Salem Police Department urges anyone who seeks assistance getting out of prostitution or who knows of anyone who needs assistance to contact their local service providers or call 911.

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