American Fork, UT

Tactics Used

Buyer Arrests
Reverse stings
Shaming
Auto seizure
Community service
Public education
Neighborhood action
SOAP orders
John school
Letters
Cameras
Web stings
License suspension

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.

 

Key Partners

  • American Fork Police Department
  • Utah County Major Crimes Task Force
  • Orem Police Department

Key Sources

Shaming of Arrested Sex Buyer:

Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

 

State Utah
Type City
Population 30399
Location
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