Oklahoma City, OK

Tactics Used

Reverse stings
Shaming
Auto seizure
Community service
Public education
Neighborhood action
SOAP orders
John school
Letters
Cameras
Web stings
License suspension

Oklahoma City has used a wide range of tactics to combat the demand for commercial sex, which drives prostitution and sex trafficking.  These efforts began in the mid-1970s and many have continued through to the present. For example, in March 2018, the Oklahoma City Police Department arrested 35 men during a sting operation aimed at the customers of prostitution. The  “demand suppression” operation took place from March 26 to March 29, and police said that two metro hotels assisted in the operation.  Violence among people involved in prostitution is also well-documented locally, including the homicide of (and committed by) prostituted women.

Oklahoma County has been imposing community service on arrested sex buyers (as well as on prostituted women) since 2002. An individual can be sentenced to complete up to 80-hours of community service.

Although not often enforced in recent years, Oklahoma County can impose geographic restrictions on criminal defendants, including arrested johns. The restriction bars the individual from being in any of a dozen areas known for the persistent presence of street level prostitution.

The john school option was dissolved by 2011, approximately, due to a lack of political support and fees set at a level inadequate for the program to be  financially self-sufficient or revenue-positive, as are most john schools.

As is the case in most cities, Oklahoma City police can turn over prostitution crimes to either the city prosecutor or the county prosecutor. Historically, prostitution crimes have been handled by the city – treated mostly as a ticket. Around 2002, the sitting district attorney requested all prostitution crimes to be given to his office (county prosecutors) so they could pursue the defendants. Since that happened, the state now reportedly recoups far less in fines (the average is only $50) than they did when the city prosecuted the cases (fines ranged between $600-$1,200).  Also, when city courts handle the cases, the fine revenue returns to the city, which has made the investment in the reverse stings that produced the arrests.  Then they go to the district courts, typically the fine revenue does not return to the city, except perhaps a portion.

NOTE: Special thanks to Brian Bates of JohnTV for providing information about fines, community service, and john school as they apply to sex buyers arrested in the city.

 

Key Partners

  • Oklahoma City Police Department
  • FBI

Key Sources

State Oklahoma
Type City
Population 547274
Location
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