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Bishop, California, is the largest populated place and only incorporated city in Inyo County. Bishop is located near the northern end of the Owens Valley, northwest of Death Valley, and has a population of approximately 3,800. Inyo County and the greater Death Valley region have a long history of prostitution dating back to the 1800s and brothels in the area serving the gold mining camps. More contemporary cases of prostitution in Bishop and nearby areas have been documented since the 1980s, some of which have been connected to Bishop’s proximity to legal brothels in Nevada. Bishop residents have been arrested during large regional sex trafficking operations as recently as 2021.
Consumer level demand provides the revenue stream for all prostitution and sex trafficking, and has been targeted by local law enforcement agencies as a strategy for prevention and response. A law enforcement respondent to the 2021 National Assessment Survey reported that demand reduction tactics have been implemented in Bishop, including SOAP orders for arrested sex buyers since 2021.
- Bishop Paiute Tribal Police
National Assessment Survey – 2021
Background on Local Prostitution and Sex Trafficking:
- https://sierrawave.net/author-illuminates-red-light-women-of-death-valley/ (1800s)
- https://pvtimes.com/hurdy-houses-hurdy-girls-flourished-in-boom-towns/ (1800s-early 1900s)
- https://www.nps.gov/parkhistory/online_books/ (1800s-early 1900s)
- http://raisethestakeseditions.com/janies-ranch/ (1980s-1990s)
- https://casetext.com/case/people-v-hernandez-59 (1988)
- https://www.bscc.ca.gov/wp-content/uploads/Inyo_County_2011-2012.pdf (2012)
- https://pvtimes.com//desirees-epiphany-last-column-on-nye-county-prostitution/ (2015)
- https://www.amazon.com/Red-Light-Women-Death-Valley (2015)
- https://ktla.com/64-people-arrested-2-women-rescued-during-anti-human-trafficking-operation-in-riverside-county (2021)
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