Sex Buyer Arrests

Most arrests of sex buyers are the result of sting operations using fictional online ads or undercover police posing as prostituted persons. But sex buyers may also be arrested as the result of investigations or enforcement actions in response to offenses against real victims. Some arrests occur on an ad hoc or opportunistic basis, such as when police witness public lewdness or conduct traffic stops, and then learn that the people are engaged in prostitution. Others occur when investigating allegations of prostitution or sex trafficking. Types of scenarios that may provide opportunities to arrest sex buyers that do not involve reverse stings include:

  1. Brothel raids
  2. Prostitution and sex trafficking investigations
  3. Investigations of other offenses (e.g., domestic violence, robbery, drug trafficking)
  4. Traffic stops
  5. Police or witness observations of suspicious activity or lewd conduct

Tracking the arrests of sex buyers accomplished through means other than sting operations is a recent development at Demand Forum. During the first ten months of conducting web searches for such arrests, Demand Forum staff has learned of more than 860 U.S. cities and counties in which they have occurred. The number of communities in which sex buyers have been arrested by means other than sting operations is certainly far greater than what we have documented so far. What we have documented so far is an interim product, providing a preliminary report on sex buyer arrests, and will be updated periodically to reflect recent findings.

To access information about specific cases and the U.S. cities and counties in which sex buyer arrests  occurred, you may go to, open the “Browse Locations” window, and then select “Buyer Arrests” from the “Tactics” list. Similarly, the U.S. locations in which other arrests of sex buyer have occurred may be mapped on Demand Forum by choosing “Buyer Arrests” from the list. 

For additional detail about this tactic and examples of its implementation, please see the preliminary summary document on Buyer Arrests.