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Clackamas County has approximately 415,000 residents and is located in Northwestern Oregon. Its county seat is Oregon City and its largest communities are Oregon City and Lake Oswego. It also contains Canby, Wilsonville, and a small portion of Portland. Prostitution and sex trafficking activity has been known to occur in the area for decades. Between October 2018 and 2019, the Oregon Department of Justice and the Department of Human Services identified over 700 human trafficking victims across the state, with Clackamas and Multnomah counties having the highest count. The commercial sex market has been linked to other crimes. For example, violence against prostituted women has been documented. In fact, serial killers including the “Molalla Forest Killer” and the “Green River Killer,” targeted prostituted women in areas of Washington and Oregon, including Clackamas County. Prostitution has also been linked to drug usage and overdose.
To address such problems, the CCSO, often in collaboration with municipal law enforcement agencies, have employed tactics to undermine the consumer-level demand that provides the revenue for prostitution and sex trafficking markets. For example, in 2009, FBI agents—working with Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) deputies, Eugene police and federal immigration authorities—contacted individuals offering sexual services through Craigslist ads. This operation led to six arrests on accusations of prostitution or promoting prostitution. The FBI said these stings were part of an area-wide crackdown that netted a total of seven underage girls and six adult sex traffickers/pimps in the Portland area. Police also cited 14 prostituted women and three sex buyers, and rescued a 17-year-old girl from Vancouver, WA, who was sex trafficked. She was taken into protective custody and assessed by the state Department of Human Services.
More recent examples include a case from February 2018, where a man was indicted in Washington County Circuit Court for sex trafficking of a 17-year-old victim. In June 2018, the CCSO and other agencies participated in a reverse sting led by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office that resulted in the arrest or citation of 37 people during an anti-human trafficking effort. During the operation, investigators communicated online with sex buyers. Each individual arrested and/or cited faced charges of prostitution-related crimes, including commercial sexual solicitation.
Sex buyers have also been caught as the result of ad-hoc arrests. For example, in June 2021, the CCSO Human Trafficking Team and Adult Sex Crimes Unit arrested a 40-year-old man on multiple charges including prostitution, rape, sex abuse, and online sexual corruption of a child.
Employment loss is also a tactic used to reduce the demand for commercial sex. In July 2021, a man resigned from the Clackamas Community College Board of Education the day after he was asked to step down (board members can’t be terminated). The former legislator and speaker of the Oregon house was caught in a web-based reserve sting conducted by the Portland Police. He was charged with commercial sexual solicitation, a crime created by HB 2714—a bill that he himself had voted for.
Web-Based Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:
- Operation Cross Country IV (2009)
- Operation Cross Country VI (2012)
- Operation Cross Country X (2016)
- Operation Cross Country XI (2017)
- https://pamplinmedia.com/bvt/15-news/prostitution-sting-nets-suspects (2013)
- https://patch.com/oregon/beaverton/child-prostitution-sting-nabs-4-beaverton-men (2018)
- https://patch.com/oregon/hillsboro/18-men-arrested-sex-trafficking-sting-sheriff (2018)
- https://patch.com/oregon/lakeoswego/prostitution-sting-nabs-4-men-tigard-police-say (2018)
- http://www.kptv.com/story/37-people-arrested-cited-during-undercover-prostitution-sting-in-metro-area (2018)
- https://www.facebook.com/pg/clackcosheriff/posts/ (2018)
Buyer Arrests, Identity Disclosure:
- https://www.clackamas.us/CCSOPR-SexCrimeArrestVictimsSought (2021)
- https://www.koin.com/clackamas-co-man-faces-27-sex-related-charges-with-a-minor (2021)
Employment Loss, Identity Disclosure:
Background on Prostitution, Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:
- http://blog.oregonlive.com/breakingnews/2007/07/clackamas_county_cops_nab_coup.html (2007)
- http://www.salem-news.com/craigslist_bust_prostitution_business (2007)
- http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2012/06/fbi_sting_identifies_79_child.html (2012)
- http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2015/09/former_lake_oswego_cheerleader.html (2015)
- https://www.oregonlive.com/man_who_sought_sex_with_girl_bust_in_craigslist_sting (2015)
- https://www.oregonlive.com/clackamas_mans_overdose_death_leads_to_arrest_of_prostitute_accused_in_aiding_horoin_purchase (2016)
- https://www.kgw.com/article/news/crime/portland-man-arrested-in-sex-trafficking-case (2018)
- http://www.kptv.com/story/37570629/beaverton-police-man-arrested-for-promoting-prostitution (2018)
- https://foxsanantonio.com/child-sex-abuse-suspect-turns-himself-in-to-oregon-city-police (2019)
- https://pamplinmedia.com/tackling-human-trafficking-in-clackamas-county (2020)
- https://www.koin.com/clackamas-county/home-under-construction-for-girls-escaping-sex-trafficking (2020)
- https://kpic.com/team-from-lane-county-to-be-recognized-for-breaking-up-sex-trafficking-ring (2020)
- https://thepostmillennial.com/5-men-arrested-in-oregon-child-predator-sting-operation (2021)
Documented Violence against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:
- “Oregon Bones May Be Tied to Green River Killings”, Spokane Spokesman-Review, June 15 1985.
- “Green River Force Looking for Link with Oregon Killings”, Spokane Chronicle, June 19 1985.
- “More Bones Uncovered in Tigard”, Bend Bulletin, June 21 1985.
- “Victim’s Bones, Found in 2 States, Baffle Police”, Spartanburg Herald-Journal, February 16 1990.
- “Police Net Catches the Wrong Man”, Seattle Times, November 6 2003.
- “Police Search for More Victims of Alleged Craigslist Attacker”, ABC/KATU-TV 2, November 19 2007.
- “Tigard Police Crack Down on Online Prostitution”, Oregonian, August 7 2008.
- “High Court Erases the Convictions of Craigslist Rapist”, Tigard Times, July 26 2012.
- “Oregon Supreme Court Says Convictions, Except Rape, Still Stand in Tigard Craigslist Case”, Oregonian, November 13 2012.
- https://www.oregonlive.com/clackamascounty/dayton_leroy_rogers_oregons_most_prolific_serial_killer (2013)