Investigators with the West Alabama Human Trafficking Task Force arrested six individuals on 11 charges after a Tuesday prostitution sting at a hotel in Tuscaloosa.

The task force includes investigators with the Tuscaloosa, Northport and University of Alabama Police Departments. The operation was a joint effort involving Homeland Security Investigations, Trafficking Hope, TPD’s Cyber Crimes division, UA’s Institute for Data Analytics and the East Metro Area Crime Center.

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“It’s no secret that we conduct these types of operations on a regular basis,” said Human Trafficking Task Force Commander Capt. Phil Simpson. “Still, these suspects took a chance and attempted to purchase sex. On another night, they may have ended up making arrangements with someone who is actually a victim of human trafficking or forced prostitution. Ultimately, this is more about protecting those victims by eliminating, or at  least reducing, demand.”

The task force arrested six men: five from Tuscaloosa, one from Birmingham. The Tuscaloosa Thread's policy is to not identify individuals if they're only charged with a misdemeanor. The only individual charged with a felony count is Tyler Deandre Atkins, 29, of Tuscaloosa.

Atkins was charged with soliciting prostitution, first-degree possession of marijuana, possession of a controlled substance, failure to affix a tax stamp and certain persons forbidden from possessing a firearm. He's being held on a $28,500 bond.

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