|IT Based Tactics||✓|
Bainbridge Island is a small city of about 25,000 residents in Kitsap County, WA, across the Puget Sound from Seattle. Prostitution and sex trafficking have been well-documented problems in the city and surrounding areas for decades. One of the more serious issues related to the area’s commercial sex market is child trafficking.
Among the tactics used to combat sexual exploitation in Bainbridge Island are those targeting consumer level demand for prostitution and sex trafficking. The Bainbridge Police Department has been known to conduct web-based reverse sting operations. In March 2015, the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office conducted their first web-based reverse sting which resulted in the arrest of seven male sex buyers, three of which were members of the military. According to reports, the Sheriff’s Office, along with officers from the Bremerton Police Department, the Bainbridge Island Police Department, and the Poulsbo Police Department participated in the operation. Undercover detectives posted ads on backpage.com and Craigslist the day before the operation and arranged the dates through text messages. According to the detectives, men began replying to the ads within three minutes of the posts. The operation was conducted at a motel in Port Orchard, WA, and suspects were arrested upon arriving to motel rooms and knocking on the doors. In addition to arrests, detectives also seized cash, phones, and car keys as evidence. During one arrest, they also confiscated a knife that the suspect was carrying in his pocket. All seven male sex buyers were arrested and transported to the Kitsap County jail and booked for patronizing a prostitute, each being held on a $10,000 bail. The 2015 sting was one of many within the statewide “Operation Net Nanny” initiative. All of the arrestees’ names and other identifying information were publicized in local media outlets.
In October 2015, the Bainbridge Island Police Department participated in the FBI’s annual child sex trafficking operation, Operation Cross Country IX. The OCC initiatives are one element of an ongoing strategy to combat the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC). OCC is part of the FBI’s Innocence Lost national initiative, which began in 2003. During OCC9, two Child Exploitation Task Forces (CETFs) in Washington state recovered three child sex trafficking victims, contacted 119 adults being victimized through prostitution, and arrested 11 subjects suspected of commercially exploiting children and/or adults. Additionally, investigators also interviewed another 15 subjects suspected of being involved in facilitating prostitution. According to reports, these interviews provided significant leads toward identifying other child sex trafficking victims. In addition to arrests, the CETFs reportedly recovered cash, drugs, a gun, and several vehicles during the operations.
Web-Based Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:
- Operation Cross Country IX (2015)
- Kitsap prostitution bust: 7 men arrested, one in Navy uniform (2015)
- KCSO detectives arrest seven in prostitution sting in Port Orchard (2015)
Background on Local Prostitution, Sex Trafficking, Drug, Weapons Offenses:
- 4 arrested for suspected prostitution in Bainbridge (2009)
- Island brothel shut down, Bainbridge police say (2009)
- What the?? Prostitution ring here? (2009)
- http://pugetsoundblogs.com/prostitution-arrests-reveal-a-larger-sex-trade-on-bainbridge/ (2009)
- https://www.thestranger.com/prostitution_bust_on_bainbridge (2009)
- https://www.kitsapdailynews.com/nk-not-safe-from-human-trafficking/ (2013)
- Four Charged With Prostitution After Bainbridge Island Sting (2009)
- Bainbridge Island woman arrested as part of Poulsbo prostitution sting (2015)
- https://issuu.com/pnwmarketplace/docs/24 (2015)
- Police arrest eight in prostitution bust (2015)
- Bainbridge Island enforcement officers handle one prostitution offence in 2020 (2020)