American Fork is a city in Utah County, Utah, located north of Utah Lake. It is part of the Provo–Orem Metropolitan Statistical Area and the population is roughly 33,000. Prostitution and sex trafficking are well documented problems in the city and surrounding areas, generating complaints to police by residents. For example, in 2019 a couple was arrested after police discovered they had been running a prostitution business out of their home. The American Fork Police Department announced that a home in a quiet, family neighborhood near 9900 North and 4500 West had posed no problems for eight to 10 years, but over a four month period neighbors noticed some unusual activity, with two different groups of people contacting police to make complaints about activity at the house. Neighbors noticed an unusually high volume of visitors at the home, activity that often suggests drug use or prostitution. Police investigated the couple for about three weeks and found they were advertising their sexually-oriented business on social networking websites.
Among the efforts to address such problems have been arrests and shaming of sex buyers. For example, in February 2021, six people were arrested following an investigation into massage parlors in Utah County that police said were fronts for human trafficking and prostitution. The investigation started in September 2020 based on an anonymous tip from a citizen. Over the next several months, undercover officers went to at least four massage parlors in American Fork and Orem and reported that they were offered sex acts in exchange for money. The investigation culminated in search warrants served at the four businesses and a home in Lindon. The women working at some massage parlors were often required to live there and rarely leave, and at least one woman was determined to be a victim of human trafficking. Some of the women were forced to live in small closets or rooms within the massage business premise and given only minimal means for survival, according to the affidavits. Defendants faced a number of charges, including engaging in a pattern of unlawful activity, aiding prostitution, money laundering, prostitution and human trafficking. At one massage parlor raided, officers found a customer who admitted he had learned about the business on the dark web, according to an affidavit. The man was arrested and charged with soliciting prostitution.
- American Fork Police Department
- Utah County Major Crimes Task Force
- Orem Police Department
Shaming of Arrested Sex Buyer:
- https://kutv.com/news/local/police-six-arrested-for-alleged-prostitution-ring-at-utah-county-massage-parlors (2021)
- https://ksltv.com/454699/multiple-arrests-made-after-alleged-human-trafficking-at-utah-county-massage-parlors/ (2021)
- https://www.ksl.com/article/50102264/6-arrested-as-police-raid-4-massage-parlors-in-utah-county (2021)
- https://www.newsbreak.com/utah/american-fork/news/2158750931504/6-people-arrested-for-reportedly-running-human-trafficking-prostitution-ring (2021)
Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:
- “Suspect in Prostitution Ring Faces Drug Counts,” Deseret News, September 26 1987.
- “2 Utah Men Charged in Prostitution Crackdown,” Deseret News, October 24 1987.
- “Crime Beat 7/1,” Provo Daily Herald, July 1 2004.
- “Clean-Film Business Was Front for Porn, Police Say,” Provo Daily Herald, January 25 2008.
- “Two Men Arrested for Sex Crimes,” NBC/KSL-TV 5, January 25 2008.
- “CleanFlicks Files Trademark against Flix Club Founder,” Provo Daily Herald, January 31 2008.
- “Flix Club Owners Face Prostitution-Related Charges,” Provo Daily Herald, February 2 2008.
- “Co-Owner of Flix Club Gets 210 Days in Jail,” Deseret News, June 28 2008.
- “Co-Owner of Flix Club Faces Jail Time,” Deseret News, June 29 2008.
- “Flix Club Owner Makes Deal in Child-Sex Case,” Deseret News, August 4 2008.
- “Man Arrested for Propositioning 17-Year-Old Employee,” Salt Lake Tribune, October 23 2009.
- “Orem Police Say Man Offered Girl Money for Sex,” Provo Daily Herald, October 24 2009.
- “Boss Is Accused of Propositioning Teen,” Deseret News, October 25 2009.
- “KSL 5 News Investigates Prostitution in Utah County,” NBC/KSL-TV 5, November 23 2009.
- “Orem Restaurateur Sentenced to Jail for Sexual Battery,” Provo Daily Herald, January 10 2012.
- “Two Provo Men Arrested in Separate Child Porn Investigations,” Deseret News, November 26 2013.
- “Provo Man Arrested for Suspected Sexual Exploitation,” Provo Daily Herald, November 28 2014.
- https://kslnewsradio.com/1942757/more-arrests-made-in-connection-with-prostitution-and-human-trafficking-ring-in-utah-county (2021)
Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “Couple Sues Orem Police,” Deseret News, February 8 1982.
- “Three Women Charged with Prostitution,” Provo Daily Herald, December 3 2001.
- “Provo Police Uncover Internet Sex Scheme,” Deseret News, February 23 2002.
- “No Arrests Made in Sex-for-Money Episode,” Salt Lake Tribune, May 24 2003.
- “Woman Charged with Prostitution in Provo,” Deseret News, April 9 2009.
- “Orem Massage Parlor Raided on Suspicion of Sex Crimes,” NBC/KSL-TV 5, March 31 2014.
- https://www.ksl.com/utah-massage-parlor-owner-arrested-for-investigation-of-prostitution (2019)
- https://www.deseret.com/3-more-arrested-at-airport-in-utah-county-massage-parlor-raids (2021)
- https://kjzz.com/3-more-arrested-for-pay-for-sex-services-utah-county-massage-parlors (2021)