Boulder, CO

Tactics Used

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

Boulder is a city of roughly 97,000 residents, located 25 miles northwest of Denver in Boulder County, Colorado. The city is known to have substantial problems associated with prostitution and sex trafficking rings; in 2012, the city was listed among a handful of Colorado communities that served as the operating bases for a child sex trafficking network that advertised its services online. In a federal indictment, law enforcement reported that on at least one occasion a minor girl “was held down on a hotel bed in Boulder and “subjected … to sexual contact without her consent.””

In response, the Boulder Police Department has conducted at least two reverse stings to identify and arrest adults attempting to purchase sex from minors. In 2007, the BPD launched an investigation after receiving a tip that a local resident “had paid for sexual favors from a woman he met online.” Although the identity of the tipster was not disclosed, media outlets reported that the prostituted woman “told [BPD] detectives she became fearful for children at the school [where the john worked after he] confided that his ‘deepest, darkest secret would be to have sex with a 12-year-old girl.'” Following his arrest, the man’s name was released to the public. In 2008, it was announced that he had been sentenced to 10 days of work release, 100 hours of community service, and a fine of $500.

In June 2014, the BPD conducted a second web-based reverse sting. Officers placed a decoy advertisement to a website known for prostitution activity, wherein a female undercover officer posed as “the mother of a 12-year-old girl who was willing to sell her daughter for sex.” One john, a 24-year-old Boulder resident, was arrested after replying to the listing and arranging to pay for sex with what he thought was a 12-year-old girl. The man’s name and arrest photo were also released to the public.

Key Partners

  • Boulder Police Department
    • Internet Crimes Against Children Unit

Key Sources

State Colorado
Type City
Population 97385
Location
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