Anchorage, AK

Tactics Used

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 johns.

Key Partners

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

Key Sources

 

State Alaska
Type City
Population 293531
Location
Comments are closed.