Cascade County, MT

Tactics Used

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

Cascade County is located in central Montana, and has a population of about 84,000, making it the fifth-most populous county in Montana. Its county seat is Great Falls (a city of approximately 59,000 residents).  Prostitution activity has been well-documented in that city and surrounding areas within the county.  This activity and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates results in complaints to law enforcement agencies from residents and businesses. Among the more serious crimes associated with the local commercial sex market is human trafficking. Cases of rape committed against those providing prostitution span decades in the county, and child sex trafficking activity has also seen documented locally.

 

Consumer level demand provides the revenue stream for all prostitution and sex trafficking, and has therefore been targeted by local law enforcement agencies as a strategy for prevention and response. For example, in July, 2014, officers with the Great Falls Police Department and Internet Crimes against Children Task Force conducted a web-based sting targeting attempts to buy sex from minors. During the investigation, law enforcement posted decoy advertisements to a website known for commercial sex sales “soliciting people interested in sexually explicit conduct with a minor child.” At least three men responded to the listing, and arranged to meet undercover female officers posing as girls available for purchased sex at a nearby hotel. According to media reports, each man was arrested after allegedly agreeing to pay $150-200 for sex with children who they believed were 12- and 15-years old. Following their arrests, each of the men’s names, ages, and hometowns were released to the public. According to media reports, “under [Montana] state law, paying for a sex act or agreeing to pay for a sex act with a child when an offender is over 18 years of age carries a mandatory 25-year prison sentence, with an additional 75 years to be served in prison or on probation.”

 

In July, 2019 a multi-agency human trafficking operation in Cascade County led to the arrests of five male suspects on misdemeanor prostitution charges.  For the sting operation led by the Cascade County Sheriff’s Office, investigators posted ads on various social media sites, and for those responding to the undercover decoys, arranged for a meeting to purchase sex.  One arrest led to a search warrant of a Massage Parlor.  The operation involved multiple agencies, including the CCSO, the Great Falls Police Department, the Cascade County Attorney’s Office, the Montana Division of Criminal Justice, the Department of Homeland Security and the Internet Crimes against Children Task Face. Montana’s chief deputy attorney general observed the operation and complimented the work of Montana’s 66th Legislature for providing funding to the Montana Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation “to assist and coordinate on human trafficking cases in local communities.”

Key Partners

  • Cascade County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO)
  • Cascade County Attorney’s Office
  • Great Falls Police Department
  • Internet Crimes against Children Task Force
  • Montana Division of Criminal Justice
  • Department of Homeland Security

Key Sources

Web-Based Reverse Stings and Shaming:

Background on Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

State Montana
Type County
Population 81654
Location
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