Butte is a city of approximately 34,000 residents, and is the county seat of Silver Bow County, Montana. Prostitution and sex trafficking activity have been well-documented in the city and surrounding communities, and in unincorporated areas of Silver Bow County. This activity and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates results in complaints to law enforcement agencies from residents and businesses. Among the more serious problems associated with commercial sex in the area include child sex trafficking.
While local law enforcement agencies have not specifically targeted consumer-level demand for commercial sex through proactive measures such as reverse stings, the identities of arrested sex buyers have been publicized. For example, in April 2017, a Butte man was arrested after police responded to a call of a disturbance and possible sexual assault in an apartment on the 200 block of West Park Street. The Silver Bow County Undersheriff said that the suspect told police he had paid to have sex with the woman. The man was booked into jail for felony sexual assault, purchasing prostitution, and felony probation violation. The man’s name, age and other identifiers were included in news releases.
- Silver Bow County Sheriff’s Office
Shaming Arrested Sex Buyer:
- https://mtstandard.com/crime-and-courts/blotter/butte-man-arrested-for-sexual-assault-purchasing-prostitution/article_3ed7a10a-fec3-522d-92d9-dc06a31c1957.html (2017)
- https://billingsgazette.com/news/state-and-regional/montana/montana-man-arrested-on-suspicion-of-sexual-assault-and-purchasing/article_94b29c0e-50de-5781-b7ae-0cf54a12aae3.html (2017)
Background on Local Prostitution and Sex Trafficking:
- Murphy, M. (1984). The Private Lives of Public Women: Prostitution in Butte, Montana, 1878-1917. Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies, Vol. 7, No. 3, pp. 30-35.
- Trumbull, N. (2011). Prostitution.
- http://www.khq.com/story/26343583/butte-man-charged-with-prostitution-after-lap-dance (2014)
- 1/29/16, Butte: Butte man accused of felony sexual abuse of children
- 7/8/16, Butte: Butte man charged after allegedly arranging to meet minor for sex
- https://www.greatfallstribune.com/my-montana/prostitution-gambling-widespread-throughout Montana (2018)
- https://www.missoulacurrent.com/government/2019/01/sex-trafficking-montana/ (2019)