Anchorage, AK

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

Anchorage is a city of approximately 294,000 residents, making it Alaska’s largest city. It is located in the south-central part of the state, well below the Arctic Circle. Anchorage residents comprise more than a third of the state’s population (732,000). There is a long history of widespread prostitution in the city, dating back to the gold rush and fueled in part by industries that are staffed predominantly by men (e.g., oilfield work, fisheries).

Sex trafficking has also been well-documented in the city and surrounding areas, including the Mat-Su Valley, and such cases have been investigated and successfully prosecuted. For example, in April 2021, an Anchorage man was convicted on five counts of sex trafficking of minors, three counts of production of child pornography and two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm. The verdict came after a three-day federal bench trial. According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, in 2018 a 35 year old man conspired with another person to traffic two minors, a 15-year-old female and a 17-year-old female. Both minors were runaways who stayed with the offender at his co-conspirator’s apartment. While at the apartment, they created an online advertisement that was used to market the minors. The man then assisted his co-conspirator in trafficking the victims; encouraging them to perform sex acts for money; serving as “protection” for the minors and driving one of them to a “date” to be sexually abused for money. Additionally, the man produced child pornography with one of the minors on two separate occasions.  The city has also had cases of prostituted women murdered and mutilated, and has been the site of at least one serial killer who specifically targeted prostituted women – and murdered at least 17.

Driven in part by community complaints, Anchorage police have engaged in a number of strategies to combat prostitution and sex trafficking, and have chosen to address their source: consumer-level demand. Anchorage police conduct periodic street-level and web-based reverse stings. Arrestees may have their identities publicized, their autos seized, be placed on geographic probation (SOAP order), and perform community service as a condition of a sentence for soliciting. By municipal ordinance, auto seizure can occur after any first-time arrest, but after a second arrest police can start forfeiture proceedings on vehicles seized from sex buyers.

Key Partners

  • Anchorage Police Department
  • FBI
  • State of Alaska Task Force on the Crimes of Human Trafficking, Promoting Prostitution and Sex Trafficking

Key Sources

National Assessment Survey and Interviews

Street-Level Reverse Stings with Shaming and Auto Seizure:

Web-Based Reverse Stings with Shaming:

Auto Seizure:

Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

Documented Violence against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:

  • Robert Hansen, Wikipedia.
  • “Bethel Man Charged in Woman’s Murder”, Anchorage Daily News, April 3 1987.
  • “Prostitute Says Client Stabbed Her”, Anchorage Daily News, May 17 1991.
  • “Police Find Body in Spenard Driveway”, Anchorage Daily News, March 17 1992.
  • “Crime Stoppers”, Anchorage Daily News, April 26 1992.
  • “Crime Stoppers”, Anchorage Daily News, October 12 1992.
  • “Woman Lives Despite Being Raped, Beaten and Shot”, Anchorage Daily News, March 30 1993.
  • “Soldiers Convicted of 8 Felonies; Jury Acquits Men of Attempted Murder in Fight with Prostitute,” Anchorage Daily News, December 11 1993.
  • “Police Seek Clues to Park Killer; 34-Year-Old Victim Worked as Prostitute, Had Been Missing 2 Weeks,” Anchorage Daily News, November 11 1995.
  • “Inmate Indicted in 1995 Slaying; Man in N.C. Prison Confessed to Killing Anchorage Prostitute,” Anchorage Daily News, November 16 2000.
  • “Man Accused of Five Rapes after DNA Matching”, Juneau Empire, April 16 2002.
  • “Troopers Seek Real Name of Slain ‘Eklutna Annie’; Mystery: Serial Killer Robert Hansen Claimed Woman Was His First Victim,” Anchorage Daily News, February 20 2003.
  • “Accused Rapist on Trial”, CBS/KTVA-TV 11, January 21 2004.
  • “Rape Trial Opens; Attorneys on Both Sides Blast Suspect; Hunter: Defense Says His Client Is No Prince, but He’s Not a Rapist,” Anchorage Daily News, January 22 2004.
  • “Woman Tells of Encounter with Rape suspect; Violence: What Began as Offer for a Ride Ended in Beating, Rape, Witness Says,”,Anchorage Daily News, January 23 2004.
  • “Accusers’ Lifestyles under Fire; Rape Trial: Suspect Says Sex Was Consensual and He Cheated Prostitutes Out of Money,” Anchorage Daily News, February 2 2004.
  • “Rape Jury Weighs Credibility Issues; Hunter Trial: Lawyers’ Closing Statements Hammer on Conflicting Stories,” Anchorage Daily News, February 19 2004.
  • “Jury Convicts John Hunter”, CBS/KTVA-TV 11, February 20 2004.
  • “Victims’ Stories Believed; Rape Trial: Jury Finds Hunter Guilty, Doesn’t Think Women Were Unpaid Prostitutes as Defense Said,” Anchorage Daily News, February 21 2004.
  • “Serial Rapist Sentenced to Life Behind Bars,” CBS/KTVA-TV 11, July 16 2004.
  • “John Hunter Gets 95 Years in Prison for Multiple Assaults and Robberies; DNA Evidence: The Sentence ‘Is Certainly the Longest for a Sexual Predator’; Rapist’s Sentence Brings Relief to Anchorage’s Victims,” Anchorage Daily News, July 17 2004.
  • “Police Charge Airman with Attempted Murder”, Juneau Daily News Online, July 26 2004.
  • “Airman Held for Attempted Murder, Theft; Prostitute: Police Say Suspect Wanted His Money Back, then Choked Woman”, Anchorage Daily News, July 28 2004.
  • “Man Sentenced for 1998 Slaying; 75 Years: Alexander Eckhardt Pleaded No Contest to Second-Degree Murder”, Anchorage Daily News, November 2 2005.
  • “Alaska Underworld: More than 5 Years after Torsos Wash Up in Anchorage, Cases Remain Unsolved”, Alaska Daily News, January 22 2009.
  • “‘Butcher Baker’ Robert Hansen Moved to Anchorage for Medical Treatment”, Anchorage Daily News, May 22 2014.
  • https://www.alaskasnewssource.com/content/news/Murder-victim-to-be-laid-to-rest-in-Kotzebue-next-to-mother-family-members-say-385273561.html (2016)
State Alaska
Type City
Population 293531
Location
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