|IT Based Tactics||✓|
Bentonville is a city of approximately 57,000 residents, located in Benton County in northwest Arkansas. It is best known for being the corporate home of Walmart. As the current hub of its operations, the city hosts a large number of businessmen and contract workers traveling to and from Walmart headquarters. Consequently, residents have noted an increase in (and growing demand for) commercial sex in and around Bentonville’s hotels. Local police note that online solicitation is the dominant method of arranging transaction in the city.
In response, the Bentonville Police Department has implemented a series of demand-focused tactics to identify sex buyers. Officers routinely conduct street-level reverse stings and web stings to apprehend sex buyers. Police have also set up phone lines and websites for decoy escort agencies, and frequently screen websites (e.g., initially Craigslist and Backpage.com, now other sites) known to be used for solicitation of prostitution. To deter sex buyers, the BPD also releases the names and photos of arrestees to the media.
Loss of employment is another consequence of buying sex that has occurred in the city. For example, in December 2010, a man arrested in a prostitution and solicitation sting resigned from a job he had recently started as senior pastor at Faith Lutheran Church in Bentonville. The man was cited for sexual solicitation and loitering, both misdemeanors. He and six others were caught in a sting operation at a Bentonville hotel, according to a news release from the Bentonville Police Department.
Web-Based Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:
- “Prostitution Sting Nets 11 Men”, NWA Media, August 14 2010.
- “Prostitution Sting Nets 11 Men, Including Youth Pastor”, Benton County Daily Record, August 14 2010.
- “Stung in Bentonville”, NWA Media, August 19 2010.
Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:
- “5 Arrested during Crackdown on Prostitution in Bentonville”, ABC/KHBS-TV 40, April 5 2012.
- “Five Arrests Made in Prostitution Sting”, CBS/KFSM-TV 5, April 5 2012.
- “Five Arrested in Sex Sting”, NWA Media, April 6 2012.
Loss of Employment, Identity Disclosure:
Sex Trafficking in the Area:
- “Man Accused of Running Prostitution Ring”, Rogers Morning News, May 21 2010.
- “Former Coach Pleads Not Guilty; Foster Faces Two Felony Charges”, Benton County Daily Record, June 29 2010.
Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “Prostitutes Ply Bentonville”, CBS/KFSM-TV 18, February 12 2011.
Documented Violence Against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:
- “Bentonville Police Search for Alleged Rapist”, Benton County Daily Record, May 24 2005.
- “Police Nab Alleged Rapist who Posed as an Undercover Cop, John Wayne Comans Is Accused of Posing as an Undercover Police Officer and Raping a Fayetteville Escort”, Benton County Daily Record, May 25 2005.
- “Bond Set at $50K for Alleged Rapist who Posed as Cop”, Benton County Daily Record, May 27 2005.