Albany is a city in Northwestern Oregon of approximately 53,000 residents, situated south of Salem, OR along the Interstate 5 corridor. It is the county seat of Linn County, OR with some parts of the city being located in Benton County, OR. Prostitution and sex trafficking appear to be substantial issues in the city, generated complaints from local residents and businesses to local law enforcement agencies. Among the more serious issues associated with the city’s commercial sex market is child sex trafficking.
To combat prostitution and sex trafficking in the area, local law enforcement agencies have targeted consumer-level demand for commercial sex, which provides the revenue stream driving prostitution and sex trafficking. For example, in May 2012, officers from the Albany Police Department conducted their first web-based reverse sting. Officers made contact with men attempting to solicit sex on Backpage.com, and arranged to meet the sex buyers at a local hotel. When the men arrived and attempted to enter the designated hotel room, they were apprehended by police. A total of 10 male sex buyers were arrested; their names were publicized by local media outlets. Each arrested sex buyer was also fined $1,000, and forced to forfeit any money in his possession at the time of the arrest.
In June 2013, the Albany Police Department assisted the BCSO and the CPD in a web-based reverse sting operation that resulted in the arrest of eight male sex buyers between the ages of 21 and 51. Undercover investigators posted a decoy advertisement to a website offering commercial sex, and over the course of the 10-hour operation, received “numerous phone calls from men trying to arrange to meet with [a] female prostitute.” As the men arrived and made an explicit offer of money for sexual services, they were arrested by police. The identities, images, ages, and hometowns of arrested sex buyers were released to media outlets. All eight suspects were either booked and released from the Benton County Jail or cited and released at the scene.
Web-Based Reverse Sting, Identity Disclosure:
- “An Albany First: Online Prostitution Sting”, Albany Democrat-Herald, May 19 2012.
- “Man Fined in Prostitution Sting”, Albany Democrat-Herald, June 15 2012.
- Prostitution Sting Nets Five from Corvallis (2012)
- “Prostitution Sting Yields Three More Pleas in Court”, Albany Democrat-Herald, June 21 2012.
- “Corvallis Man Pleads Guilty in Albany Prostitution Case”, Albany Democrat-Herald, July 30 2012.
- “Corvallis Man Pleads Guilty, Fined $1,000 for Soliciting Prostitution”, Albany Democrat-Herald, August 14 2012.
- Police: Prostitution sting a success (2012)
- “8 Men Arrested in Prostitution Sting”, ABC/KEZI-TV 9, June 9 2013.
- “Corvallis Police: 8 Men Arrested in Prostitution Sting, After Agreeing to Pay for Sex”, Columbus Republic, June 9 2013.
- “Prostitution Sting Corrals Eight Men”, Eugene Register-Guard, June 9 2013.
- “Police Discuss Prostitution Sting Set-Up”, Albany Democrat-Herald, June 13 2013.
- “No Program in Albany”, Albany Democrat-Herald, March 29 2014.
Background on Prostitution and Sex Trafficking in the Area:
- Police arrest man in prostitution try (1979)
- “Albany Police Arrest 6 People in Prostitution Sting at Hotel”, Albany Democrat-Herald, November 18 2012.
- “Albany Man Indicted on Federal Sex Trafficking Charges”, Portland Oregonian, January 28 2013.
- “Linn County Man Sentenced to 12 Years in Prison for Child Sex-Trafficking”, Portland Oregonian, July 23 2014.
- https://democratherald.com/news/local/second-suspect-charged-in-albany-prostitution-case (2019)
- https://democratherald.com/news/albany-prostitution-case-may-have-ties-to-human-trafficking (2019)