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Antioch is a city of approximately 115,000 residents, located in the San Francisco Bay area near Stockton, California. It is the second largest city in Contra Costa County. The city has well-known prostitution and sex trafficking problems, particularly in hotels and motels, which generate complaints to police. Local law enforcement agencies have participated in the FBI’s Operation Innocence Lost investigations and other collaborative operations. For example, in February 2020, the results from the statewide “Operation Reclaim and Rebuild” were announced. The week-long operation was led by the Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Task Force and involved participation from 70 federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies (including the Antioch Police Department) and task forces from across California. In addition to recovering victims of sex trafficking and arresting then prosecuting their captors, Operation Reclaim and Rebuild also sought to disrupt the demand for vulnerable victims by targeting their buyers. Investigators focused enforcement operations wherever sex trafficking of human beings took place and included street-level and internet-based operations. The operation deployed specially trained cyber detectives who posed as vulnerable teenagers and interacted with suspects on social media in an effort to target traffickers and sex buyers who sought to exploit and sexually abuse children. Operation Reclaim and Rebuild resulted in the arrest of 266 male sex buyers charged with solicitation, as well as the recovery of 76 adult and 11 minor victims and the arrest of 27 suspected traffickers. In the press release announcing these results, the head of the Task Force said, “To the Johns: Purchasing commercial sex is illegal and buying sex adds to the exploitation of those involved.” Downloadable Material: Talking Points and Slides
Employment Loss and Identity Disclosure are additional consequence of purchasing sex that have occurred in Antioch. For example, in March, 2023, a former Deer Valley High School employee in Antioch faced felony charges for allegedly arranging to meet minors for transactional sexual acts, and authorities were asking for the public’s help in tracking down other potential victims. The Contra Costa County District Attorney’s office said the former teach faced multiple felonies following his March 16 arrest in a sting operation. The investigation began in 2022, just days after he started a job as a deputy campus counselor at the school. A parent of a student reported to school officials that the man sent the student inappropriate text messages about marijuana use at school, as well as sexually suggestive messages. In a statement, the superintendent of the Antioch Unified School District said the suspect had worked a total of seven days at the school when the report was made. The county’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC) took up the case to see if the suspect would sell marijuana to a minor and arrange for sex. Investigators posed as a 13-year-old girl on a chat app and the man allegedly offered to sell the fictional teen marijuana as the chats became more sexual in nature. On March 16, the suspect arranged to meet the teen for sex at a park in the city of Martinez, and when he arrived he was arrested by members of the ICAC task force and then incarcerated at the Martinez detention facility. He was charged on March 21 with seven felonies, including contacting a minor for a sex offense, showing a minor pornography, meeting a minor for lewd purposes, and attempting to supply marijuana to a minor to sell. ICAC Senior Inspector said the man may have been in contact with other victims and urged anyone with information about the case to email him. A preliminary hearing was scheduled, and the Contra Costa Superior Court website shows that the man was held on $405,000 bail.
- Antioch Police Department
- Alameda County Sheriff’s Office
Street-Level and Web-Based Reverse Stings:
Sex Buyer Employment Loss, Identity Disclosure:
- https://thebharatexpressnews.com/former-deer-valley-high-school-employee-in-antioch-accused-of-trying-to-contact-minors-sexual-acts/ (2023)
Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:
- “72 Arrested in Bay Area During Nationwide Prostitution Sting”, Contra Costa Times, November 8 2010.
- “Human Trafficking Charges for Two after Prostitution Allegations”, Windsorite, May 23 2013.
Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “East Bay Roundup”, Contra Costa Times, March 2 2005.
- “Pregnant Woman Suspected of Pimping”, Contra Costa Times, September 25 2005.
- “Undercover Police Arrest Six for Prostitution, Pimping”, Vallejo Times-Herald, November 18 2006.
- “Two Vallejo Men Arrested in Antioch Prostitution Sting”, Vallejo Times-Herald, September 15 2007.
- “Prostitution Sting”, Antioch Press, September 19 2007.
- “Alleged Pimp, Prostitute Arrested for Online Ads”, ABC/KGO-TV 7, April 25 2008.
- “Vallejo Woman Busted in Prostitution Sting”, Vallejo Times-Herald, May 18 2008.
- “Seven Arrests in Antioch Prostitution Sting”, Contra Costa Times, October 17 2008.
- “Antioch Police Calls”, Oakland Tribune, August 5 2009.
- http://eastcountytoday.net/antioch-police-make-prostitution-arrest-at-massage-parlor (2013)