Coeur d’Alene, ID

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

Coeur d’Alene is a city of approximately 56,000 residents in northwestern Idaho, located in Kootenai County roughly 30 miles east of Spokane, WA. Sporadic cases of prostitution and sex trafficking have been reported in the community for at least 25 years. The city and surrounding area has reported cases involving individuals using massage parlors and escort services as fronts for prostitution. Recently, sex trafficking has become a significant concern in the community. In 2018, two local non-profits, the Idaho Anti-Trafficking Coalition and the Boise-based Community Outreach Behavioral Services (COBS), which provides trauma care for human trafficking victims, collaborated to present a seminar about sex trafficking to about 125 attendees on at Lake City Church. Among the more serious concerns regarding the local commercial sex market is child sex trafficking. For example, in 2016 and 2017, the Coeur d’Alene Resident Agency from the Salt Lake City FBI Office participated in the FBI’s annual child sex trafficking investigation, Operation Cross Country. In both instances, the operations conducted in Coeur d’Alene by the Resident Agency were in support of Spokane authorities. In 2016, Operation Cross County X, resulted in one arrest and the recovery of three women in Spokane.

In efforts to reduce demand for commercial sex in the area, the Coeur d’Alene Police Department has been known to conduct reverse sting operations. These operations have typically been conducted with other local law enforcement agencies in response to residential complaints to officials. For example, in 2015, the Coeur d’Alene Police Department conducted a street-level reverse sting operation at a local casino that resulted in the arrest of eight prostituted women and one male sex buyer. According to reports, regulars at a local casino suspected prostitution activity occurring at the casino and reported it to local law enforcement. Due to the city’s proximity with Spokane, police believed that demand reduction efforts by the Spokane Police Department had resulted in an increase in demand for commercial sex in Coeur d’Alene. Police stated that the reverse sting was designed to primarily target male sex buyers but made more arrests of prostituted women than sex buyers during the operation. Security cameras from the casino were used to document the investigation and identify arrestees. The identities and images of arrested offenders were included in reports by local media outlets.

Loss of employment is also a consequence of buying sex in the city. For example, in January 2015, the Coeur d’Alene Police Department conducted an ad hoc reverse sting that produced the arrest of one male sex buyer. After receiving a report from the FBI that officers with the Spokane Police Department had discovered a commercial sex ad to North Idaho College students, which was posted to Craigslist’s “casual encounters” section, CAPD officers launched an investigation. Working with NIC administrative officials, Coeur d’Alene police “set up a fake [NIC] student account and set up an email address. An officer began emailing the poster of the ad, pretending to be a female student.” During their exchanges, the man “awarded $587 of NIC grant money into the fake student’s account, with the understanding he would go to her apartment to have sex with her.” Police then arranged to meet the male sex buyer at a Coeur d’Alene apartment complex, and arrested him when he arrived. Upon his arrest, police identified the man as the director of financial aid for North Idaho College. In the days following his arrest, the man was fired from his position at NIC as the financial aid director, and charged with five felonies, including attempting to procure a prostitute, attempting to misuse public money, and bribery. His identity was also publicized by several media outlets.

Key Sources

Street-Level Reverse Sting, Cameras, Identity Disclosure:

Web-Based Reverse Sting, Employment Loss, Identity Disclosure:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:

State Idaho
Type City
Population 55904
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