Chula Vista, 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

Chula Vista is a city of about 277,000 located in the San Diego area of southern California.  Prostitution and sex trafficking have been recognized as serious problems in the city for many years, generating numerous complaints to police.  The city is also included among those in San Diego county that experienced activity of a serial killer in the 1980s who specifically targeted prostituted women.  Among the approaches law enforcement use to address problems associated with commercial sex is combating demand, the key driver of both prostitution and sex trafficking. Street-level reverse stings have been conducted periodically in the city since at least 1986, if not earlier.

Chula Vista police have also collaborated on regional demand reduction efforts, including web-based reverse stings.  For example, in April, 2021 a four-day, web-based reverse sting conducted throughout San Diego County yielded the arrest of 144 men on allegations of trying to hire undercover officers posing as prostituted persons. The operation targeted people searching for options on social media pages for the region. The sheriff’s department and officers from the Chula Vista, Escondido and San Diego police departments collaborated on “Operation Century Week” in partnership with the San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force (which includes the state Department of Justice, FBI and other agencies).

Key Partners

  • Chula Vista Police Department
  • San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force
  • San Diego County Sheriff’s Office

Key Sources

Street-Level Reverse Stings:

Web-Based Reverse Stings:

Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

Documented Violence against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:

  • “Warrant Sought for Ex-Con in Killing of Chula Vista Woman”, San Diego Union, February 15 1986.
  • “Police Arrest Suspect in Rapes, Seek Another”, San Diego Union, January 13 1987.
  • “Dead Woman Identified”, San Diego Union, September 1 1987.
  • “Officers Hunting Serial Killer Here Probe New Attack”, San Diego Evening Tribune, January 6 1989.
  • “Man Charged in Assault Extradited to San Diego”, San Diego Evening Tribune, January 28 1989.
  • “Woman Identifies Waters as Man who Recruited Her for Sex, Then Attacked”, San Diego Evening Tribune, July 6 1989.
  • “Waters Guilty of Kidnap-Assault but Cleared of Attempted Murder”, San Diego Union, July 22 1989.
  • “Man Guilty in Abduction of Prostitute”, Daily News of Los Angeles, July 23 1989.
  • “Woman’s Body Found in Chula Vista; Death Cause, Identity Sought”, San Diego Union, August 4 1990.
  • “2 Men Must Face Trial in 1995 Killing”, San Diego Union-Tribune, October 23 2004.
  • “Trial Set for Man Accused of Hiring, Attacking Cleaning Ladies”, ABC/KGTV-TV 10, April 7 2010.
  • “Court Is Told Sex Episodes Not Assaults; Attorney Says 2 Women Agreed to Payment by Man Accused of Attacks in His Home”, San Diego Union-Tribune, November 25 2010.
State California
Type City
Population 277260
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