Ames, IA

Tactics Used

Auto Seizure
Buyer Arrests
Community Service
Employment Loss
Identity Disclosure
IT Based Tactics
John School
License Suspension
Neighborhood Action
Public Education
Reverse Stings
SOAP Orders
Web Stings

Ames is a city of approximately 66,000 residents, situated north of Des Moines in Story County, Iowa. Prostitution and the solicitation of minors for commercial sexual abuse 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 sex buyers 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.” The APD added that they planned to conduct similar operations in the future.

Key Partners

  • Ames Police Department
  • FBI

Key Sources

Web-Based Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

Local Prostitution Ordinance:

State Iowa
Type City
Population 66361
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