Wenatchee, WA

Tactics Used

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

Wenatchee is a city located in Central Washington and has a population of roughly 30,000.  Prostitution is documented to have occurred in the city in the 1800s, and efforts to combat prostitution in the city date back to the 1930s. More recently, there have been cases of sex trafficking, including the sexual exploitation of children.  For example, in 2018, man who allegedly held two prostitutes against their will at the Red Lion Hotel in Wenatchee was arrested.  Wenatchee police said that a woman came into the police department and told officers that she and her cousin had been assaulted, robbed and were imprisoned overnight in the hotel room, and that she and her cousin managed to escape. The two cousins told police that they were working as prostitutes in the hotel room when the suspect came into the room and attacked both of them, allegedly taking one of the women’s wallet and money by force, refused to allow them to leave the room, and threatened to kill them if they tried to escape or contact police. He told the women that they now “work for him.”

In 2010, the Wenatchee Police Department arrested five men in a prostitution sting after placing an ad on a website known commercial sex sales. Law enforcement used a confidential informant to answer a prepaid phone, and set up meetings at a local motel with those who responded to the listing. Over the course of the investigation, five men ages 25 to 46 appeared and offered to pay for sex, and were apprehended by police. The sting involved five police officers, including one captain, three of whom waited in a rented room at a local motel. As noted, they also enlisted the help of a confidential informant who posed as a prostitute and provided her a prepaid cell phone to answer calls from prospective customers.  All of the offenders were booked into the Chelan County Regional Justice Center on suspicion of patronizing a prostitute, a misdemeanor.

In 2017, twenty men responded to ads or social media invitations to have sex with a prostitute, and were arrested by the Chelan County Sheriff’s Office deputies during a sting operation.  Three of the men showed up expecting to have sex with a minor, and were arrested and booked into the Chelan County Regional Justice Center for communicating with a minor for immoral purposes.  The other 17 men were cited for soliciting prostitution and were released. The names and ages of the three men charged with felony communicating with a minor for immoral purposes ere reported in news report.

Key Partners

  • Wenatchee Police Department
  • U.S. Homeland Security Investigations
State Washington
Type City
Population 30229
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