Carlsbad, 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

Carlsbad of about 116,000 residents located near San Diego, California. It is within San Diego County, which occupies the area between the Mexican border and the Los Angeles Metro region and Los Angeles County. Its location as a border region makes it a major point of transshipment for drug trafficking and large-scale gang activity, and many of those criminal networks have diversified into human trafficking over the last two decades.  In addition to transnational human trafficking, the county has  domestic prostitution and sex trafficking problems as would any other area in the United States. Nearby cities with substantial prostitution and sex trafficking problems include Encinitas, San Marcos, and Oceanside.

Consumer level demand provides the revenue stream for all prostitution and sex trafficking, and has therefore been targeted by local law enforcement agencies in the area, as well as within the city of Carlsbad, as a strategy for prevention and response. For example, in August 2004, an undercover prostitution sting in downtown Carlsbad led to the arrest of three men for soliciting prostituted persons.  Three female Carlsbad police officers volunteered to pose as prostituted women in the Carlsbad Village Drive area, where authorities had recently seen an escalation in prostitution. Once each financial transaction was consummated, the three men were each arrested for “soliciting a prostitute” — a misdemeanor punishable with a $1,000 fine and several months in jail. The men were cited and released on the promise they would appear in court.

In January 2018, the Carlsbad Police Department participated in Operation Reclaim and Rebuild took place over a three-day period last week and focused on the demand side of human trafficking throughout San Diego County, which resulted in 29 sex buyers being arrested and charged with agreeing to engage in an act of prostitution.  The San Diego County District Attorney joined the San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force to announce the results of the operation, which had three goals: disrupting the demand for vulnerable victims by targeting their buyers; identifying, arresting and prosecuting their captors; and identifying and recovering victims of sexual slavery and human trafficking to provide them with services.

“This operation is a wakeup call for men who buy sex, about the damage they are doing to our young women and children, and the cycle of abuse they are promoting,” District Attorney Summer Stephan said. “The men who were arrested are from all ages and backgrounds, demonstrating the need to raise awareness that when people pay for sex, the person on the other end of the transaction is often a victim who was forced into sex trafficking as a child.”

Key Partners

  • Carlsbad Police Department
  • San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force:
    • FBI
    • Naval Criminal Investigative Service
    • U.S. Attorney’s Office
    • U.S. Marshals Service
    • ICE Homeland Security Investigations in San Diego
    • California Department of Justice
    • California Department of Corrections
    • California Highway Patrol
    • San Diego County District Attorney’s Office
    • San Diego Police Department
    • San Diego Sheriff’s Department
    • San Diego Probation Department
    • San Diego City Attorney’s Office
    • National City Police Department
    • Escondido Police Department
    • Chula Vista Police Department
    • Oceanside Police Department
State California
Type City
Population 113592
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