Boise, ID

Tactics Used

Reverse stings
Auto seizure
Community service
Public education
Neighborhood action
SOAP orders
John school
Web stings
License suspension

Boise is the state capitol of Idaho, and the government seat of Ada County.  It is located in the southwest portion of the state near the Oregon border, and with a population of about 224,000 is the largest city in Idaho. Prostitution and sex trafficking activity have been well-documented in the city of Boise and surrounding communities, and in unincorporated areas of Ada County.  Boise City’s history of prostitution was well-documented in newspapers in the late 1800s, frequently mentioned in the Idaho Statesman. In August 1889, the paper started a campaign against brothels. When a city ordinance “To Suppress Bawdy Houses and Houses of Ill-Fame in the Vicinity of Public Schools in Boise City” was passed by the council on Sept. 5, 1889.  In current times, prostitution activity continues, and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates results in complaints to law enforcement agencies from residents and businesses. Among the more serious crimes associated with local commercial sex market in this part of Idaho is child sex trafficking.

Consumer level demand provides the revenue stream for all prostitution and sex trafficking, and has therefore been targeted by local law enforcement agencies as a strategy for prevention and response. To identify and apprehend local sex buyers driving the prostitution and sex trafficking markets, law enforcement agencies have collaborated on reverse stings, primarily focusing on men seeking sex with trafficked children. For example, in March, 2018 a coalition of law enforcement agencies collaborated on a web-based reverse sting targeting people arranging to buy sex with minors. The operation led by the Idaho Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, which falls under the Office of the Attorney General, resulted in five men facing charges in Ada County court and five others charged in federal court. In a separate case, a teacher at Jefferson and Longfellow elementary schools in Boise was charged with attempting to have sexual contact with a 15-year-old girl. The allegations against each man differ somewhat. But all of the cases began with an investigator posing as either a child or the parent of a child and communicating through ads posted on the site. The prior December, an investigator responded to an advertisement on Craigslist that a man had allegedly posted asking for a sexual partner. The investigator posed as a 15-year-old girl and had an ongoing dialogue with one suspect for several months; throughout the conversations, the suspect allegedly told the “girl” that he wanted to impregnate her and would then molest those resulting children. The suspect was arrested when he went to meet the “girl” in Ada County in March 2018. Another suspect was charged in federal court with suspected sex trafficking of a child after he allegedly spoke with an undercover officer who posed as a “mother” who wanted to have sex with a man and “her 15-year-old daughter.” That conversation started when the man responded to the fake ad on Craigslist, and ended with an arrest when he agreed to pay for the sex. One man showed up at the Boise home with Doritos and a gas-station Slurpee, investigators say, gifts for the teenage girl he thought he was about to have sex with. Most of the men were charged with suspected enticement of a child; attempted lewd conduct with a minor younger than 16; and/or attempted sexual exploitation of a child.

In November, 2018, eleven men were arrested and charged after the Idaho Attorney General’s Office conducted a sting operation over one weekend. “Operation Grand Canyon” targeted child sexual predators. Local law enforcement teamed with the Attorney General’s Internet Crimes Against Children unit, as well as state and federal agencies. Seven of the men are facing state charges, while four are charged in federal court. Mugshots are not released for defendants in the federal system.

Key Partners

  • Boise Police Department
  • Idaho Attorney General’s Office
    • Internet Crimes Against Children task force
  • Ada County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Department of Homeland Security
  • Ada County’s Emergency Operations Center
  • Ada County Jail
  • Ada County Sheriff’s Office

Key Sources

Web-based Reverse Stings, Shaming:

Background on Local Prostitution and Sex Trafficking:

State Idaho
Type City
Population 223154
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