Burbank, CA

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

Burbank is a city of about 105,000 residents located in the southeastern end of the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles County, CA, located just 12 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles, CA. Prostitution and sex trafficking are well documented problems in the city. Among the more serious issues associated with the commercial sex market in the city is child sex trafficking. For example, in the late 1990’s a Burbank developer was arrested for soliciting access to sexually abuse four underage girls. He was convicted of pandering and bribing a witness in 1993. In 2007, the same man was arrested for sex trafficking a runaway teenage girl within his Burbank home. The offender was sentenced to a five years in prison, but only served three, ordered to pay a $250,000 fine, and was required to register as a sex offender. The identity and photo of the arrested offender was released by police to local media outlets. In July of 2017, Burbank was one of the locations in which a large child sex trafficking ring operated in which at least 13 trafficked minors were identified. A community wide study in 2019 found 40% of the Burbank residents surveyed to consider prostitution to be a problem in the city. Officers have also been known to routinely conduct operations that target businesses advertising “personal massages” on the Internet or in magazines.

To combat the demand for commercial sex in the city, Burbank police have been conducting street-level reverse stings since the 1980s, using female undercover officers as decoys and arresting people attempting to solicit sex. In Burbank Police Department issued a warning to sex buyers, sex traffickers/pimps, and prostituted people, that Burbank would now be a city of zero tolerance for prostitution and related activity. The warning coincided with an increased effort to make prostitution arrests. In 2010, police arrested a 26-year-old man on a prostitution charge, in addition to arresting two men at a hotel near the Los Angeles-Burbank Airport on suspicion of online solicitation of a minor under the age of 16. According to Burbank police, increased patrols and monitoring of online classified sites also helped officers apprehend sex buyers and sex traffickers throughout the series of the operations targeting commercial sex in the city.

In 2015, federal agents hosted a training seminar in Burbank teaching club owners, live dancers, amongst other individuals in the adult entertainment industry how to spot and report sex traffickers and sex buyers. The organization was called Club Organizers Against Sex Trafficking. More than 100 club operators, and a handful of dancers, attended the training seminar in Burbank. As of 2016, more than 10,000 people have attended such gatherings nationwide.

Key Sources

Arrest of Sex Buyers, Identity Disclosure:

Background on Local Prostitution:

State California
Type City
Population 105401
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