Colton, 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

Colton is a city of approximately 55,000 residents in San Bernardino County, California. It is located in the Inland Empire region of the state and is a suburb of San Bernardino, approximately 4 miles south of that city’s downtown. Prostitution activity has been well-documented in the city and surrounding communities, and throughout San Bernardino County. This activity and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates results in complaints to law enforcement agencies from residents and businesses. For example, in October, 2018, deputies from the Fontana Station of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office arrested two suspects in the city of Colton on charges of prostitution and keeping a house of prostitution.  The Sheriff’s Station had received an information from an anonymous We-Tip informant that prostitution was taking place at businesses that were advertising as massage parlors. Through extensive surveillance and undercover operations, investigators obtained probable cause to serve a search warrant at two locations, one in Colton in the 1600 block of Washington Street and one in Bloomington in the 17700 block of Valley Boulevard. Investigators located multiple subjects at the Colton location, two of whom were arrested for charges related to prostitution. Among the more serious crimes associated with the local commercial sex market are sex trafficking and violent offenses.

Consumer level demand provides the revenue stream for all prostitution and sex trafficking, and has therefore been targeted by local law enforcement agencies as a strategy for prevention and response. For example, in September, 2019, a web-based reverse sting in Colton conducted by the San Bernardino County Human Trafficking Task Force resulted in ten arrests of people charged with solicitation for prostitution. The 10 male sex buyers ranged from 23 to 61 years of age, and and were residents of the Inland Empire.  The operation was held at the 200 block of N. 9th Street, in Colton during daylight hours. The operation was part of the ongoing efforts to suppress human trafficking and prostitution by targeting male sex buyers. During the operation, undercover officers were deployed at a local hotel to pose as prostituted person through on-line advertisement.  After being interviewed and processed, all ten suspects were transported and booked at the Central Detention Center in San Bernardino.  During that process, authorities discovered that one of the suspects was an actively registered sex offender from Moreno Valley.

Key Partners

  • San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department
  • San Bernardino County Human Trafficking Task Force
  • San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office

Key Sources

Web-Based Reverse Sting:

Background on Local Prostitution, Sex Trafficking of Minors:

Background on Sex Trafficking in the Area:

Documented Violence Against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:

State California
Type City
Population 54285
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