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Castaic is an unincorporated community of approximately 19,000 residents, located in the northwestern part of Los Angeles County, CA. Prostitution and sex trafficking are well-documented in the city, aided in part by close proximity of the Interstate 5 freeway, which is an artery of travel for both legal and illegal activities (such as narcotics and human trafficking / smuggling) throughout the state. In effort to reduce the demand for commercial sex in the city, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department vice detectives have been known to conduct reverse stings in the city that specifically target sex buyers. For example, in 2011, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department vice detectives in Castaic conducted a street-level reverse sting that resulted in the arrest of 14 male sex buyers for solicitation of prostitution.
In addition, the LACSD has been known to conduct reverse stings from its Santa Clarita Valley Station in places known for high levels of prostitution activity, such as at truck stops. For example, in August of 2011, the LA County Sheriff’s Department’s Major Crimes Bureau with assistance from members of the Santa Clarita Valley Station and the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), an outreach program adopted in 1999 by the department to address community issues, conducted a similar operation that resulted in the arrest of 16 male sex buyers for solicitation of prostitution. As of 2012, the LACSD has asked citizens to call them with information about prostitution in the community, and plans to continue conducting reverse sting operations to reduce the demand for commercial sex in the city. Following their arrests, sex buyers have at times, had their names, ages, hometowns, and other details released to the public. For example, in 2014, a street-level reverse sting by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Major Crimes Bureau, Vice Unit partnered with members of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station to conduct a 12-hour reverse sting operation, focused on apprehending sex buyers in the city. As a result of the operation, three male sex buyers were arrested. The operation utilized female deputies in an undercover capacity to pose as prostituted women, and three male sex buyers were placed under arrest for solicitation to engage in prostitution. Two of the males were adult residents of Bakersfield, CA. The third male was an adult resident of the state of Massachusetts. All three males were transported and booked at the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station. The identities of arrested sex buyers were included in reports from local news outlets.
In August of 2018, a street-level and web-based reverse sting operation in Castaic and Stevenson Ranch resulted in the arrest of 11 sex buyers. Four of the arrested offenders were male sex buyers who allegedly solicited sex acts from an undercover sheriff’s deputy. The other seven male sex buyers were arrested after they responded to ads posted on sites known for prostitution who had agreed to meet undercover sheriff’s deputies at a hotel for the purposes of sex. All eleven offenders were arrested and booked at the sheriff’s Santa Clarita Valley Station. The Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Task Force and deputies from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station led the operation.
- Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
- Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Task Force
- “18 Arrested in Castaic Prostitution Round Up”, CBS/KCAL-TV 2, February 4 2011.
- “18 Arrested in Prostitution Sting in Castaic”, Los Angeles Times, February 4 2011.
- “Prostitution Sting Nets 18 in Castaic”, KHTS-AM 1220, February 4 2011.
- “Prostitution Sting Nets 18 Arrests in Castaic”, Santa Clarita Valley Signal, February 4 2011.
- “16 Arrested in Prostitution Sting”, Santa Clarita Valley Signal, August 12 2011.
- “16 Arrested in Prostitution Sting in Castaic”, Los Angeles Times, August 12 2011.
- “3 Arrested in ‘John Sting’ in Castaic”, Santa Clarita Valley Signal, March 10 2014.
- “Santa Clarita Deputies Team Up for Prostitution Sting in Castaic”, KHTS-AM 1220, March 10 2014.
- “Three Men Arrested in ‘John Sting’ and Prostitution Sweep in Castaic”, Los Angeles Daily News, March 10 2014.
- https://www.dailynews.com/11-men-arrested-in-castaic-stevenson-ranch-prostitution-crackdown/ (2018)
Background on Local Sex Trafficking, Violence Against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution:
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