Adams County is a county of approximately 500,000 residents, located east of Denver in Colorado. The county includes the cities of Aurora and Brighton, which contain part of the major “strip” or “track” for street prostitution (Colfax), and has had cases of documented child sex trafficking and homicide of prostituted people. Other cities in Adams County that have worked to address demand include Arvada and Commerce City.
Among their attempts to contain the commercial sex market, the Adams County Sheriff’s Office has conducted street-level reverse stings at undisclosed locations since at least 1989, and began to publicize the identities of arrestees in 2007. Operations typically utilize one or more undercover female officers, who pose as decoys. One such sting, conducted in 2007, resulted in the arrest of 26 sex buyers in a single evening. All of the men’s names and arrest photos were released to the public.
In January 2016, law enforcement announced the completion of a web sting targeting individuals attempting to purchase sex from minors in the county. Over the course of the investigation, 10 men were arrested after responding to an online advertisement placed by Colorado State Patrol that suggested commercial sex acts with minor girls. The exact location of the sting was not reported, though many media outlets confirmed it had taken place in Adams County. The operation was reportedly a collaborative effort led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, and supported by detectives from the Adams County Sheriff’s Office, the Commerce City Police Department and the Colorado State Patrol. Following their arrests, all of the offenders’ names and mugshots were released to the public. Each was charged with “soliciting for child prostitution” and “criminal attempt to commit trafficking for sexual servitude”; six of the 10 arrestees were also charged with “criminal attempt to commit sexual assault on a child.”
In December 2019, a man who lured two teenage girls off of Las Vegas streets and brought them to Colorado, where he pimped both out for sex, has been sentenced to 20 years in prison. The girls were forced to perform sexual services in Colorado for several days in October. The human trafficking case came to light when Commerce City police questioned the girls about a shoplifting incident at Travel America, 5101 Quebec St., according to the release. The FBI Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force investigated, and the man was convicted in December of multiple charges including pimping of a child, soliciting child prostitution and human trafficking of a minor for sexual servitude.
- Adams County Sheriff’s Office
- U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
- Colorado State Patrol
- Commerce City Police Department
Street-Level Reverse Stings (with Identity Disclosure since at least 2007):
- “33 Men Arrested in Prostitution Sting Operation”, Colorado Springs Gazette, November 28 1989.
- “26 Arrested in Adams County Over Weekend”, Rocky Mountain News, June 15 2007.
Web-Based Reverse Stings with Identity Disclosure:
- “Elementary Teacher among 10 Arrested in Denver Metro Area Child Predator Sting Operation,” CBS/KCNC-TV 4, January 26 2016.
- “Teacher Arrested in Child Prostitution Sting,” CBS/KKTV-TV 11, January 26 2016.
Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:
- “Aurora Spa Accused of Prostitution, Pimping”, ABC/KMGH-TV 7, July 11 2007.
- “Men Accused of Prostituting 15-Year-Old Online”, ABC/KMGH-TV 7, September 25 2008.
- “Police: Suspected Pimp Arrested in Child Prostitution Sting”, ABC/KMGH-TV 7, July 1 2009.
- “Motel 6 Manager Arrested in Child Prostitution Sting”, ABC/KMGH-TV 7, September 15 2009.
- “Police: Missing Teen Seen with Man Involved in Prostitution”, ABC/KMGH-TV 7, August 18 2011.
- “Police: Teen Who Faked Abduction Found”, ABC/KMGH-TV 7, August 22 2011.
- https://www.denverpost.com/2020/man-sentenced-20-years-prison-teen-girl-sex-trafficking (2020)
Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “Portland Gives Aurora Crime-Control Tips; Leaders Visit Oregon City to Find Ways to Deal with East Colfax Vice”, Rocky Mountain News, March 23 1993.
- “Johns Off (Tow) Hook– For Now”, Denver Post, June 29 1993.
- “Aurora to Ask Cities to Join in Anti-Prostitution Effort”, Denver Post, February 7 1997.
- “Plan Aims for ‘No Prostitution Zone’; Effort Targets East Colfax”, Denver Post, October 9 2002.
- “Prostitutes Using Cyberspace to Connect, Police Say”, ABC/KMGH-TV 7, January 12 2005.
- “Former Teen Prostitute Learned Tough Lessons on the Street”, Rocky Mountain News, February 23 2009.
- “Present for the Future: Overcoming a Life on the Streets”, Aurora Sentinel, December 6 2012.