Arvada, CO

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

Arvada is a city of 123,000 residents in Northern Colorado and is a suburb of Denver, CO. The city lies in both Jefferson County, CO and Adam County, CO. Prostitution and sex trafficking have been well-documented in the city for over decades. This activity and its ancillary crimes have resulted in complaints to local law enforcement from residents and businesses. Among the more serious crimes associated with the local commercial sex market is child sex trafficking.

Consumer-level demand provides the revenue stream for all prostitution and sex trafficking, and has been targeted by local law enforcement agencies in their strategy for prevention and response. The Arvada Police Department has conducted reverse stings in effort to reduce the local commercial sex market, since at least 1990, if not earlier. During the 1990 reverse sting operation, police placed a decoy advertisements for an “escort service” in the classified ads section of a local newspaper. According to reports, within a period of 10 days, the police department had received over 1,200 calls and men arranged to meet a police decoy at a furnished apartment. As a result of the investigation, police arrested 65 male sex buyers for soliciting prostitution. Amongst those arrested included “a college student trying to lose his virginity, an assistant principal at Wheat Ridge High School, and a Jefferson County Sheriff’s deputy.

Since then, the APD has continued to conduct reverse sting operations in addition to web-based reverse sting operations targeting individuals seeking to engage in commercial sex online. More recent efforts have included web-based reverse sting operations that specifically focus on identifying and arresting individuals seeking to sexually exploit children in exchange for money online. These operations are often held when the state experiences a large influx of people and the demand for commercial sex increases, such as during large events like World Cannabis Week. For example, in April 2016, federal law enforcement agencies conducted an online child sex trafficking operation exploitation during World Cannabis Week in Colorado, including within the Arvada area. As a result of the investigation, five children were recovered, nine adults were arrested for sex trafficking, and 26 were arrested for prostitution – a misdemeanor offense. According to reports, FBI personnel conducted research before and after World Cannabis Week in 2015 and noted a 35 percent increase in the number of online escort postings and nearly 40 percent of escorts told police they traveled to Colorado for the special event. This research was intended to assist agents better conduct the April 2016 operation. The cooperative effort included participation from the Adams County Sheriff’s Office, Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office, Arvada Police Department, Colorado Trafficking and Organized Crime Coalition, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Golden Police Department, Homeland Security Investigations, Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Rocky Mountain Innocence Lost Task Force, and Rocky Mountain Safe Streets Task Force.

Sex buyers and sex traffickers have also been arrested as a result of alternative investigations or residential reports to police. For example, in September 2018, a 31-year-old man was arrested by Arvada police in connection with a child sex trafficking operation. The investigation was initiated after the victim reported the incidents to police. The offender was arrested by Arvada and Aurora police in Aurora, CO and was held in the Jefferson County jail on $25,000 bond for two counts of child sex trafficking, soliciting for child prostitution, sexual exploitation of a child, and sexual assault of a minor. He was arrested by Arvada and Aurora police in Aurora . His photo and identifying information were publicly reported. He was sentenced to 10 years of sex offender intensive supervision, with one year in jail as a condition of probation.

Key Partners

Key Sources

Street-Level Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

  • “Personal Ad in News Nets 65 Prostitution Arrests”, Rocky Mountain News, May 10 1990.
  • “Vice Sting Nets 65 Arrests; Arvada Police Get 1,200 Inquiries about Prostitution Services”, Denver Post, May 10 1990.
  • Classified ads work well in Arvada sting (1990)
  • “Arvada Sting Put Clamp on Artificial Vice”, Denver Post, May 15 1990.

Web-Based Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

Sex Buyer Arrests, Identity Disclosure:

Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:

State Colorado
Type City
Population 123436
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