Police are sharing details about a new counter-exploitation operation they’ve been working on and say it’s revealed some pretty shocking details.

Investigators involved in the operation say they are seeing women willingly entering the sex trade as a way to make ends meet for their families.

The operation, named 'Northern Spotlight', met up with women working as escorts through online ads last week.

The aim of the sting was not to lay charges against them, but to tell them about how they could get out of working in the sex industry.

So far this year, CPS have made contact with 256 sex workers in the Calgary area. A majority of those women say they entered into the line of work because of the tough economy.

One officer involved in the operation was shocked by the realization.

“This is the first time I’ve encountered someone who said ‘I lost my job, then my husband lost his job, and the bills still had to be paid, the kids still needed to be cared for and I didn’t know what else to do.’ She said they didn’t want to be homeless and didn’t want to go to a shelter.”

20 percent of the women that Calgary police met were from eastern Canada.

They told investigators that they came to Alberta because they could make two to three times more money.

(With files from Alesia Fieldberg)