SANTA BARBARA ( — A prostitution sting led to the arrest of 20 people in Santa Barbara County last week.

Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Detectives and the Santa Barbara Police Department’s Special Investigations Bureau worked together on the enforcement operation.

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According to police, officers placed an ad on the backpage web site, advertising a female willing to engage in sex acts in exchange for money.

Police say the site is often used to advertise escort services.

When people responded to the fake ad, a female undercover detective negotiated prices with them and told them to meet her at a hotel.

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They were arrested on charges of soliciting prostitution when they arrived at the hotel.

Those arrested were from Santa Barbara, Lompoc, Fresno, Goleta, Solvang, Isla Vista and Philadelphia.

Santa Barbara County law enforcement officials say prostitution advertisements have grown significantly in and around Goleta and Santa Barbara.

Many women who engage in prostitution can be victims of abuse and human trafficking, according to police.

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