DEMANDForum.net http://www.demandforum.net Resources for the Prevention of Prostitution and Sex Trafficking Tue, 21 Oct 2014 17:56:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Demand and Sex Trafficking in the Dakotas http://www.demandforum.net/nd/ http://www.demandforum.net/nd/#comments Tue, 02 Jul 2013 20:00:28 +0000 http://www.demandforum.net/?p=4210 Since the discovery of approximately 24 billion barrels of untapped oil reserves in the Williston Basin in 2006, the communities of northwestern North Dakota have observed dramatic changes. Most notably, public law enforcement officials and victim service providers have reported a dramatic spike in service requests, as thousands of people from across the country migrate to the region in search of […]

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Since the discovery of approximately 24 billion barrels of untapped oil reserves in the Williston Basin in 2006, the communities of northwestern North Dakota have observed dramatic changes. Most notably, public law enforcement officials and victim service providers have reported a dramatic spike in service requests, as thousands of people from across the country migrate to the region in search of work.

The population in some cities and counties has increased exponentially in just a few years, resulting in housing shortages and inflation, and overwhelming the local infrastructure for health and social services, law enforcement, and transportation.  Most of this population influx has been of men filling jobs on the oil fields and to meet the exploding demand for trucking services and construction.

Many national news outlets have covered such market shifts and impacts in articles on the “Bakken boom,” but less attention has been drawn to the region’s burgeoning and increasingly visible commercial sex markets, and how many communities have seen the need to attack the demand driving these markets.

In Williston, where the city’s population increased 9.3% from 2012 to 2013, CNN reported in late 2011 that female exotic dancers traveled from as far as Texas and California to earn $2,000-3,000 a night at one of the city’s strip clubs. Fifty miles south in Watford City, officers with the Watford City Police Department conducted their first reverse sting when a prostituted woman’s phone continued to ring following her arrest. As police responded to the mens’ requests, they were directed to meet three men near a local convenience store. An additional john was arrested in the city’s RV park, after being identified by the arrested woman as a previous client. Upon arrival, police found that man “finalizing a $1,600 sex deal with two [additional] women.” All four men provided police with out-of-state home addresses.

In Dickinson, whose population jumped from 19,697 in 2012 to 26,771 in 2013, the police department conducted its first reverse sting “since the last oil boom [over 20 years ago]“, resulting in the arrest of seven sex buyers in January 2013.

In nearby Medora (pre-boom population: 111), five men were arrested for “hiring [a prostituted woman] to come from Dickinson to Medora, where housing was provided by the company for whom they worked.”  Their alleged employer, Ace Energy Services, declined to comment.

Two hours from Medora, in the eastern portion of the Basin, the Minot Police Department reports that it has conducted two reverse stings in the last year, adding that “with Minot’s population boom, prostitution is becoming a big problem in the city.”

 

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Endangerment of Young Children During Commercial Sex Transactions http://www.demandforum.net/presence-of-children-at-commercial-sex-transactions/ http://www.demandforum.net/presence-of-children-at-commercial-sex-transactions/#comments Tue, 18 Dec 2012 19:19:55 +0000 http://www.demandforum.net/?p=3836 One of the more disturbing aspects of commercial sex transactions encountered in our review of reverse sting operations is the presence of children.  Among the communities that have conducted reverse stings, we found cases in more than 80 cities and counties in which infants or young children were present in vehicles or hotel rooms where men […]

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One of the more disturbing aspects of commercial sex transactions encountered in our review of reverse sting operations is the presence of children.  Among the communities that have conducted reverse stings, we found cases in more than 80 cities and counties in which infants or young children were present in vehicles or hotel rooms where men had arranged to buy sex, or were neglected by guardians who left them in order to engage in prostitution.  In some cases, young children were left unattended in rooms with weapons and drugs while their guardians were involved in selling or buying sex.  For example, a bus driver in Detroit sought to buy sex from an undercover police woman while four special needs students from five to nine years of age sat behind him on the bus, and a registered sex offender in Norfolk, Connecticut tried to buy sex while carrying a two-year-old child in his vehicle.  Other examples of prostitution-related child endangerment include:

  • December, 2012:  The Albuquerque Police Department conducted a reverse sting resulting in the arrest of a man who was charged with felony child abuse for leaving three “very young children” in the parking lot in a cold car without jackets and without a heater, while he went to buy sex in the hotel.
  • December 2012:  A man was arrested in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania for soliciting oral sex from an undercover police officer while his two-year-old daughter was in the car.
  • January, 2013:  A women brought her four-year-old child along while selling sex in a hotel room, with the “dates” arranged through Backpage ads.
  • December 2013:  In Baton Rouge, Louisiana an arrested sex buyer was also for child desertion for leaving a 1-year-old and 2-year-old in alone in a car in order to buy sex in a hotel room.
  • September 2013:  A woman in Covington, Louisiana left her three young children (1, 2, and 4 years of age) unattended in a hotel room while she went elsewhere to sell sex.
  • October, 2013:  A woman in Raleigh, North Carolina locked her children in their home, leaving them without the ability to escape if there were an emergency, then left to engage in prostitution.
  • February, 2014:  A woman left her 2- and 5-year-old children alone, sleeping on a couch with the apartment door unlocked while she was gone for several hours to meet with a sex buyer.

Another form of child involvement occurs when boys purchase sex from prostituted persons, or when it is purchased for them.  For example, a 2011 case in Johnson City, Tennessee and a 2013 case in Jonesborough, Tennessee,  both involved men arranging to buy sex from a prostituted woman for their 12-year-old sons.  It is not unusual for reverse stings to result in the apprehension of 14 to 17-year-old boys attempting to buy sex.

Sample References:

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Smaller Communities Adopting Big City Tactics on Prostitution http://www.demandforum.net/smaller-communities-adopting-big-city-tactics-on-prostitution/ http://www.demandforum.net/smaller-communities-adopting-big-city-tactics-on-prostitution/#comments Fri, 15 Jun 2012 09:48:37 +0000 http://www.demandforum.net/?p=1210 Prostitution and sex trafficking are not strictly urban problems, and with the advent of web-based solicitation and wireless technology, are becoming even more decentralized. Police “reverse sting” operations using female decoys to arrest male...

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Prostitution and sex trafficking are not strictly urban problems, and with the advent of web-based solicitation and wireless technology, are becoming even more decentralized.  Police “reverse sting” operations using women officers as decoys to arrest sex buyers have occurred in towns with as few as 100 residents, and in at least 55 communities with populations of less than 5,000.  The average size of cities that have conducted reverse stings is about 46,000.  Community complaints were found to drive most police activity in response to prostitution.

Communities using anti-demand tactics:  A 2011 study by Abt Associates, conducted for the National Institute of Justice, examined police operations and other initiatives that target men who buy sex from women and girls engaged in prostitution.  The study has identified over 1,050 cities and counties in the U.S. that have conducted reverse stings and, in many cases, additional interventions targeting male buyers.  Reverse stings and other tactics were found to have been used in all 50 states and in communities of all sizes.  Over 110 towns with populations under 10,000 have conducted reverse sting operations and over 620 communities with populations under 75,000 have targeted sex buyers in that manner.  Eight towns with population of less than 1,000 have conducted reverse stings, including Medora, ND (pop. 111) and Pollocksville, NC (pop. 315).  Clearly, very small communities can have commercial sex problems significant enough to drive police to attempt to attack its source – consumer-level demand – and can muster the resources necessary to do so.  In very small towns, reverse stings are usually accomplished through partnerships with other municipal or county law enforcement agencies.

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Community Complaints Drive Police Response to Prostitution Demand http://www.demandforum.net/community-complaints-drive-police-response-to-prostitution-demand/ http://www.demandforum.net/community-complaints-drive-police-response-to-prostitution-demand/#comments Fri, 15 Jun 2012 09:02:31 +0000 http://www.demandforum.net/?p=1216 One of the issues that frequently arises in debates about whether prostitution should be legalized, decriminalized, or remain prohibited is the assertion that it is victimless. The argument against prohibition is built upon the essentially libertarian idea that...

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One of the issues that frequently arises in debates about whether prostitution should be legalized, decriminalized, or remain prohibited is the assertion that it is victimless. The argument against prohibition is built upon the essentially libertarian idea that government should not intervene in commercial sex if it is between consenting adults. The case for prohibition is that commercial sex is inherently (or at least usually) harmful to the people directly involved, and to others not directly engage in either buying or selling sex.

“We just go out when we receive enough complaints from the neighborhood. Always in prostitution, you’ll have areas where prostitution will pop up near crack houses, and for us putting female [officers] out, we’re trying to get the males to stop from coming into that area.”

Chief Ken Swindle, Tuscaloosa, Florida Police Department, 2006

While the intent of our National Assessment research was not to settle debates about whether prostitution is or is not inherently harmful (harm is assumed by those engaged in the initiatives we examined), the study was able to gather information that is relevant to the discussion. During our initial interviews for that project, we were struck by how often (that is, virtually always) we were told by police officers and other respondents that community complaints are what drives when and where police conduct prostitution operations.  The complaints are not simply expressions of moral outrage, although they can certainly be involved.  Instead, we heard numerous descriptions of tangible harm to individuals, communities, and businesses, including claims that prostitution was accompanied by verbal and physical fighting near people’s homes and businesses, and within hotels and apartments; sex occurring in public areas such as doorways, alleys, and parked cars; and condoms and syringes on sidewalks, doorsteps, and yards.  There are frequent complaints of women and girls being solicited and sometimes threatened by johns while walking to work or school. A less frequent but serious problem mentioned in several communities (e.g., San Diego, California; Worcester, Massachusetts) was from women whose cultural heritage meant they could face serious repercussions if they were seen being solicited by a john, even if the women or girls did nothing to provoke it and did not respond to it.

“The kids who get out of school around 82nd (Avenue) are propositioned. [Prostitutes and johns] have sex in parking lots; we find condoms and needles; pimps fight against each other. When you think of how 82nd Avenue’s been associated with these crimes, we want to get away from that.”

JR Ujifusa, Multnomah County, Oregon Deputy District Attorney, 2010

In response to such information acquired through interviews, we examined news archives to determine how frequently complaints were reported as a reason for police operations on prostitution. From the news reports and interviews together, we found that resident and/or business complaints have led to reverse stings in at least 87% of the 1,055+ U.S. cities and counties studied. This figure probably underestimates the overall percentage of police prostitution operations that are complaint-driven.  While we found in news reports and other documentation of complaints about prostitution in over 80% of the locations, over 95% of police interviewed in 200 of the communities said that prostitution operations were often conducted by their departments in response to complaints.  The percentage derived from news reports is likely to under-represent the level of police activity responsive to community complaints, since police do not always issue press releases on undercover prostitution operations, nor do they always say in news releases whether complaints elicited the operations, and news outlets do not always see fit to report on what caused reverse stings to be conducted.

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