Buena Vista County, IA

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

Buena Vista County is located east of Sioux City, Iowa. It has a population of about 21,000, roughly half of which live in the county seat and largest city, Storm Lake.  Prostitution activity has been reported in the community over the past decade, and on at least two occasions, local law enforcement have uncovered commercial sex rings while responding to reports of related robberies and sexual assaults.  In an effort to reduce demand for prostitution, Buena Vista County law enforcement agencies and the Storm Lake Police Department have conducted at least one investigation specifically targeting sex buyers. In March 2015, the SLPD conducted a reverse sting using “social media sites” that resulted in the arrest of nine male sex buyers. The men were arrested after corresponding with a female undercover officer and agreeing to meet the decoy at a Storm Lake motel. In their efforts, SLPD officers were assisted by members of the Buena Vista County Attorney’s Office. Following their arrests, the offenders’ names and mugshots were released to the public, and publicized by some (but not all) local media outlets.

In 2016, six men were arrested during a prostitution investigation. The Storm Lake Police Department conducted an investigation into online solicitation of prostitution called “Operation Fall Fling.”  Officers posed as prostituted persons on the internet, and several men allegedly arraigned to meet for purchased sex at a Storm Lake motel.  All six men were charged with Prostitution, and were booked into the Buena Vista County Jail. Police reportedly seized over $2500 in cash during the investigation.  In March, 2021, a man was arrested and charged in Storm Lake for soliciting sex from a 16-year-old male. The man surrendered to Storm Lake police and was booked into the Buena Vista County Jail on a felony charge of prostitution and supplying alcohol to a minor.  Storm Lake police began an investigation in January 2021 when they were called to a resort for a disputed room charge. They met with four males ages 16-20, and eventually learned that the suspect offered to pay for a hotel room and alcohol in exchange for access to sexually abuse a 16-year-old.

Key Partners

  • Storm Lake Police Department
  • Buena Vista CountySheriff’s Office
  • Buena Vista County Attorney’s Office

Key Sources

Web-Based Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

Documented Violence Against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:

State Iowa
Type County
Population 20771
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