LEWISTON — Police have charged a 35-year-old Lewiston man with aggravated sex trafficking as a result of their work this summer posing as prospective clients to find out if women were being forced or coerced into prostitution.

Martin Gerding

Police arrested Martin S. Gerding on Wednesday morning.

“He is sending women out to solicit sex for his benefit,” said Sgt. Jim Theiss.

The number is so far unclear, but it’s at least one, he said.

“My guys still have some work to do on it as far as seeing if other women are going to come forward after seeing this,” Theiss said.

Lewiston police have been active this summer trying to stamp out sex trafficking, publicizing the names of men charged with allegedly engaging prostitutes and meeting with the women charged to find out if someone is coercing them to offer services, and then offering help.

“When we have undercovers posing as a john, to target the women . . . there’s also a lot of women out there who are the victims of these sex trafficking crimes,” Theiss said.

Gerding is known to police, and has been arrested or summoned in the past for drug crimes, theft and burglaries, Theiss said.

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