MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Down the streets of Memphis, a team of special investigators are hitting the streets undercover to rid the city of prostitution.
Memphis police find women and men selling their bodies for sex at places and times you would least expect.
Colonel Paul Wright leads the special team in O.C.U., MPD's organized crime unit.
"It's important because one thing, you find juveniles involved in prostitution and those juveniles that we do find we must save them from that life," Col. Wright said. "We also have a problem prostitutes being out there and getting robbed or being victims to crime themselves, as well as individuals who deal with them being victims of crime."
Last year, he said about 273 people were arrested for prostitution. Many of them were found during routine weekly police details with VICE and OCU working together.
WMC Action News 5 Investigators went along with MPD to hit the areas with the highest complaints about prostitution. We aren't showing the faces of the officers -- because they are undercover.
We witnessed one suspect sitting outside of a church in the middle of the day, flagging down who she thought was a client but really was a decoy policeman.
Moments later, she was arrested. Investigators said she was in her mid-40's.
Another woman was arrested too after she was seen flagging down a vehicle near a school.
In one day, police arrested 11 women and 1 man on prostitution charges. Their ages range from 25 to 49 years old.
Officers said they detain them because they are protecting them.
"It could be dangerous twofold, it could be dangerous health wise for the female and it could also be dangerous because you never what type of person you're coming in contact with," said one of the officers.
They will keep this secret operation going if these suspects continue to sell their bodies for sex.
Police are taking it a step further than jail time. They are also working with courts to get these men and women help through community programs for drug abuse and ways to find a new job.