Benton County, AR

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

Benton County is located in northeast Arkansas, north of Fayetteville, and contains the cities of Lowell, Rogers, Bentonville, and Siloam Springs. The county has a population of about 294,000 residents. Among the local problems associated with the local commercial sex market have been numerous cases of child sex trafficking. For example, one man was convicted for a third time of sex offenses against children, and court documents stated that he had molested or raped approximately 100 young girls over the years that he only knew because he traded drugs to their prostituting mothers in exchange for sex with the girls.

To combat consumer-level demand for prostitution in the area, the Benton County Sheriff’s Office has conducted street-level and web-based reverse stings and publicly released the identities of the men arrested for soliciting prostitution. These practices have occurred since 2007. The Sheriff’s Office often collaborates with municipal police departments on reverse stings in their cities. In a web-based reverse sting in April 2013, the Sheriff’s Office arrested 12 men, released their identities, and seized a total of $2,700 in cash and one vehicle.

In May 2015, deputies with the Benton County Sheriff’s Department posted an online ad for an escort service, and sex buyers showed up within minutes. In the first three minutes they had five calls, and received calls and text messages approximately every five minutes throughout the entire night. Some men arrived to scheduled “dates” within five minutes, and it took some several hours to get there. The Sheriff’s Department’s Special Operations Division reported that 12 men were arrested on charges of sexual solicitation, a misdemeanor in Arkansas. Additional charges included resisting arrest and illicit narcotics (a felony). The sheriff’s department seized more than $2,700 in cash and one vehicle. The suspects were arrested and charged with sexual solicitation, a class B misdemeanor. One man’s charges  were amended to a harassment charge and he pleaded guilty. The charges were placed under advisement. While the names of all arrestees were initially included in news releases, several names were later removed after the Benton County Court sealed some previous suspects’ names and charges.

Key Partners

  • Benton County Sheriff’s Office
State Arkansas
Type County
Population 293692
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