Clackamas County is located in northwestern Oregon. Its largest communities are Oregon City and Lake Oswego, each with a population of roughly 40,000, and it also contains a small portion of Portland. Prostitution and sex trafficking have been known to occur in the area for decades, and residents and business owners frequently complain to police about the detrimental effects sexual exploitation has on their businesses. As sex trafficking has become a growing concern in this region of Oregon, County Sheriff’s Offices and several municipal police departments have participated with state and federal agencies in law enforcement actions in Washington and Clackamas counties. For example, in 2009, FBI agents – working with Clackamas County sheriff’s deputies, Eugene police and federal immigration authorities – contacted Craigslist online classifieds that offered erotic services. One result was the rescue of an underage girl in Clackamas County. A Clackamas County sheriff’s spokesman said that the 17-year-old girl, from Vancouver, WA was forced to work as a prostitute. She was taken into protective custody as a victim and assessed by the state Department of Human Services. The Craigslist contacts led to six arrests on accusations of prostitution or promoting prostitution at hotel on S.E. 97th Ave., Clackamas. The FBI said the Clackamas County stings were part of an area-wide crackdown that netted a total of seven underage girls and six adult pimps in the Portland area. Police also cited 14 adult female prostitutes and three customers or other associates. More recent examples include a case in February 2018, where a man was indicted in Washington County Circuit Court for sex trafficking of a 17 year old victim.
To address such problems, area law enforcement agencies – including Lake Oswego Police – have employed tactics that attempt to undermine consumer-level demand that provides the revenue for prostitution and sex trafficking markets. For example,in June 2018 the Washington County Sheriff’s Office led a team with six other collaborating agencies in a reverse sting operation that resulted in the arrest or citation of 37 people during an anti-human trafficking effort that occurred at multiple area hotels. During the operation, investigators communicated online with people seeking to pay for sex acts. Everyone arrested or cited faced charges of prostitution-related crimes, including commercial sexual solicitation. Other agencies involved in the operation included the Lake Oswego Police Department, Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office, Portland Police Bureau, Hillsboro Police Department, Vancouver (WA) Police Department, and Oregon State Police.
In March, 2018 investigators arrested 18 men during a reverse sting aimed at stopping prostitution across Washington County. The operation was conducted by a collaboration of Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Hillsboro Police Department, Lake Oswego Police Department, the Portland Police Bureau’s sex trafficking team, and the Washington County District Attorney’s office. The men were charged with soliciting prostitutes, and their identities were included in news releases. The arrested men were from a pool of over 70 contacts received by investigators who used various sex advertisements to entice prostitution customers to meet at an unidentified Tigard hotel. Commercial sexual solicitation in Oregon is a misdemeanor, carrying fines up to $6,250 and up to one year in jail. A similar operation had been conducted in late 2017, and resulted in 40 contacts; detectives could have attempted to meet and arrest each of those individuals, but they instead chose to give the prospective sex buyers a verbal warning, along with a promise they would be arrested if ever found to be involved in another prostitution situation.
- Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office
- Lake Oswego Police Department
- Washington County Sheriff’s Office
- Portland Police Bureau
- Washington County District Attorney’s office
- Vancouver (WA) Police Department
- Oregon State Police
- Web-Based Reverse Stings:
- 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)
- Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:
- http://blog.oregonlive.com/breakingnews/2007/07/clackamas_county_cops_nab_coup.html (20017)
- 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.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)
- 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.