Nine men face charges following a multi-agency sting and investigation into people seeking sex with minors.
The Oak Ridge Police Department conceived the operation because of several recent instances in which men from outside the area were soliciting sex from minors and coming to Oak Ridge to meet the girls, according to Anderson County District Attorney General Dave Clark.
The TBI's Human Trafficking Unit, the 7th Judicial District Crime Task Force, the Anderson County Sheriff's Office and the DA's Office joined in the operation.
Fake online advertisements were placed with an unnamed website "known to be associated with commercial sex acts with minors," according to Clark.
Men then came to Oak Ridge on Wednesday and Thursday thinking they were going to have sex with underage females, according to Clark.
The men faces charges that range from trafficking for a commercial sex act to sexual battery.
They are identified as Juan N. Gomez, 42, of Knoxville; Alex E. Hickey, 55, of Jefferson City; Darron C. Hickman, 53, of Knoxville; Jose W. Salguero, 35, of Maryville; Michael J. Slover, 54, of Oak Ridge; and Jeremy R. Williams, 35, of Tellico Plains; and Joshua S. Wilson, 32, of Oak Ridge.
In addition, Joshua D. Winningham, 26, of Knoxville is charged with trafficking for a commercial sex act and soliciting sexual exploitation of a minor, according to the TBI.
Also, according to the TBI, Michael J. Houck, 54, Concord, is charged with patronizing prostitution.
Most of the men were being held in the Anderson County Detention Facility, according to Clark. They will be prosecuted in Anderson County court.
Clark said in a release Friday he would "once again" be offering training for parents about the online threats to children associated with traffickers and predators. Children too often can fall prey to people who may appear to be friendly but really only want to exploit them, he said.