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Ashland, a small city of about 21,000 residents, is located in Jackson County along the Interstate 5 corridor in Southwestern Oregon. Prostitution and sex trafficking have been documented in the city. Among the more serious crimes associated with the area’s commercial sex market is child sexual exploitation.
Local law enforcement agencies have targeted consumer-level demand for commercial sex, which provides the revenue stream driving all prostitution and sex trafficking. For example, in 2010, a web-based reverse sting was conducted, leading to the arrest of 13 sex buyers. According to reports, the men had met with two prostituted women during “outcalls” at either the men’s homes and/or local motels. The arrested offenders were charged with soliciting prostitution, a misdemeanor. The names and ages of the arrested sex buyers were later released to local media outlets.
In April, 2022, a months long undercover operation to identify suspects victimizing children online led to five arrests for attempting to meet and have sex with juveniles in Jackson County. The Southern Oregon Child Exploitation Team (SOCET) joint inter-agency task force made the arrests over a two-day period. One of the arrested men indicated he wanted to provide the underage child with illegal narcotics and to engage in sexual activity. During this investigation, an individual was discovered trading nearly 400 child pornography videos of prepubescent children.
Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:
- Ashland Daily Tidings, “6 Indicted on Prostitution Charges,” September 22, 2010.
- Ashland Daily Tidings, “13 Men, 2 Women Involved in Ashland Prostitution Ring: $90 to $200 Appointments Took Place in June,” July 30, 2010.
- Prostitution ring names sent to Jackson DA (2010)
- Mailtribune.com, “Prostitution Ring Allegedly Run Through Craigslist Site,” July 8, 2010.
- Statesmanjournal.com, Alleged Ashland Prostitution Ring Names Sent to DA, August 2, 2010.
- http://www.mailtribune.com/article/20100922/NEWS/9220326 (September 2010)
Background on Local Prostitution, Child Sexual Exploitation, Related CSAM:
- https://www.nytimes.com/27runaways (2009)
- https://theroguenews.com/sin-city-of-the-west-ashland-oregon/ (2013)
- https://www.herald-dispatch.com/5-charged-with-prostitution-after-sting-in-ashland (2017)
- https://jacksoncountyor.org/task-force-investigates-commercial-prostitution-amp-human-trafficking-concerns-photo (2021)
- https://jacksoncountyor.org/task-force-undercover-operation-identifies-suspects-victimizing-children-online-arrests-five-for-child-sex-crimes-photo (2022)