Camarillo, 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

Camarillo is a city in Ventura County, California, with a population of approximately 69,000. The county has had well-documented, widespread problems with sex trafficking and prostitution for decades, and the local sex trade has inevitably involved a wide range of other serious crimes crimes. The city of Camarillo is no exception.  For example, in November, 1995, two former “employees” gave testimony during a preliminary hearing of a woman accused of operating a brothel out of a Camarillo massage parlor. One contended she was held a virtual prisoner in the shop, and alleged that the brothel manager exploited her because she had no money and was homeless. The alleged trafficker faced three felony charges of pandering. She was accused of hiring women and coercing them into performing sex acts for money in a Camarillo strip mall at 300 N. Lantana St. In April, 2018, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office interrupted a human trafficking attempt in a Camarillo motel. Police responded to a call of possible prostitution at the motel on W. Ventura Blvd, and after conducting an investigation and multiple interviews, authorities determined illegal prostitution activities were taking place at the motel. A 51-year-old woman in one of the rooms was found to be a victim of human trafficking and was provided with county services for victims of human trafficking. Authorities learned that one of the motel clerks, a 27-year-old male from Camarillo, was aware of the trafficking and aided in its occurrence there. The man was arrested on suspicion of aiding prostitution and was later cited and released from custody with a pending court date. In September, 2021, the Ventura County Human Trafficking Task Force conducted an operation in the Camarillo area of Ventura County in an effort to rescue victims of sex trafficking and arresting the suspects involved. The detectives worked for nine hours communicating with multiple survivors in an attempt to provide them with resources to escape their victimization. In their investigation, they found a victim at a parking lot in the Camarillo area and were able to locate the trafficker, a 25-year-old Torrance man. Officers found that the suspect had a criminal background and was currently on parole. Detectives also located cash and other items that supported an arrest for “pimping.” He was booked into the pre-trial detention facility. Detectives offered the victim resources along with assistance in getting home along with other necessities.  The Ventura County Human Trafficking Task Force is made up of members from Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, Ventura County District Attorney’s Office, Ventura Police Department, Santa Paula Police Department, Simi Valley Police Department, Oxnard Police Department, California Highway Patrol, Federal Bureau of Investigations, Homeland Security Investigations, California Department of Justice and several victim service providers.

To combat persistent and longstanding problems with commercial sex and sex trafficking, the Camarillo Police Department and other Ventura County law enforcement agencies, and collaborations among municipal police departments, have employed demand reduction tactics.  For example, in September, 2021, four male sex buyers were arrested for attempting to solicit prostitution during a web-based reverse sting in Camarillo. Detectives went undercover and posed as commercial sex workers on various websites to communicate with multiple commercial sex “customers.”

Some local arrests of sex buyers are the result of allegations of crimes against real victims, rather than the product of reverse stings using undercover police decoys.  For example, in December, 2020, a man was arrested on charges related to sexually assaulting a five-year-old girl after out of state investigators contacted Ventura County officials about the man’s alleged crimes, and then the suspect discussed potential human trafficking with an undercover officer. Local officials were alerted about the the suspect by investigators after he was “possibly engaging in conversation with an undercover officer about paying money to gain access to a juvenile for the purposes of committing sex acts.” Detectives searched the man’s home and found “several items of evidentiary value that implicated the man in the reported attempts.” The Camarillo resident was arrested on suspicion of “unlawful sex with a child under 10,” “lewd acts on a child under 14,” “attempted pandering of a minor,” “attempted human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation of a minor,” and “attempt to infringe on personal liberty.”

Key Partners

  • Camarillo Police Department
  • Ventura County Human Trafficking Task Force
  • Ventura County Sheriff’s Office
  • Ventura County District Attorney’s Office
  • Simi Valley Police Department
  • California Department of Justice
State California
Type City
Population 68583
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