Ames, IA

Tactics Used

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

Ames is a city of approximately 60,000 residents, situated north of Des Moines in Story County, Iowa. Prostitution and the solicitation of minors for commercial sex have been reported in the city.

In an effort to reduce prostitution and sex trafficking activities in the area, the Ames Police Department conducted a web-based reverse sting in early April 2014. In the cooperation and support of area FBI agents, the APD posted an online advertisement offering commercial sex. As johns responded to the listing, and undercover female officer arranged to meet them at a nearby location. Four men were arrested as a result; all had their names, ages, and hometowns released to the press.

In the days that followed, APD officers described the sting as a kind of “fact-finding mission” to determine the size and scope of the area’s local commercial sex market, as well as whether or not sex trafficking networks operated in the vicinity. Although the APD did not recover any trafficking victims during the operation, officers reported that the city remains “vulnerable because [of] the major highways [that] go through the area.” They APD added that they plan to conduct similar operations in the future.




Key Partners

  • Ames Police Department
  • FBI
State Iowa
Type City
Population 58965
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