Ankeny is a city of approximately 49,000 residents, situated just north of Des Moines along Interstate 35 in Polk County, Iowa. Prostitution is a known problem in the city, and cases of sex trafficking have also been investigated.
In an effort to reduce commercial sex activity in the area, the Ankeny Police Department has conducted at least four reverse stings targeting sex buyers. In November 2013, the APD arrested 8 men during a web-based operation. Unusually, the APD’s Captain specifically stated that that there were no specific leads or problems that led her department to implement the sting. The arrests took place at an undisclosed hotel in Ankeny, after investigators placed a decoy advertisement on Backpage.com and fielded approximately 200 inquiries. According to media reports, city police rotate prostitution stings among the 12 hotels in the city in order to target web predators who may be involved in human trafficking offenses.
Under Iowa Code 725.1, the charge of prostitution is an aggravated misdemeanor, making it punishable by up to two years in jail and a fine of $625 to $6,250. The name, age, occupation, and city of residence of each of the men arrested were released to the media and included in a press release posted on the City of Ankeny’s website.
- Ankeny Police Department
- Web Stings and Shaming:
- “Ankeny Police Arrest Six People in Undercover Prostitution Sting”, Ankeny Patch, January 31 2013.
- “Sting Snags Man Second Time”, Fort Dodge Messenger, February 1 2013.
- “11 People Arrested in Ankeny Prostitution Sting”, Des Moines Register, November 7 2013.
- “Ankeny Police Arrest 11 During Prostitution Bust”, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, November 7 2013.
- “Ankeny Prostitution Sting Nets 11 Arrests”, ABC/KCRG-TV 9, November 7 2013.
- “Ankeny Prostitution Sting Results in 11 Arrests”, Press Release, Ankeny Police Department, November 7 2013.
- “Prostitution Bust in Ankeny”, Des Moines Register, November 7 2013.
- “Prostitution Sting: 11 Arrests in Ankeny”, NBC/WHO-DT 13, November 7 2013.
- “Iowa State Professor, 10 Others Arrested in Prostitution Sting”, Des Moines Register, November 8 2013.