Comanche County, OK

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

Comanche County is located in southwestern Oklahoma along Interstate 44. The county has a population of roughly 122,000, making it the fifth-most populous county in Oklahoma. The city of Lawton serves as the county seat and is its main population center. The local prostitution market has produced a number of documented problems, including child sex trafficking and prostitution-related homicides, and has generated ongoing community complaints to police. Between 1999 and 2002, the bodies of five women known to have been exploited in prostitution in the Cache Road area of Lawton were found in a string of apparent homicides that remained unsolved through at least 2017. In 2017, four people were arrested and charged in a prostitution investigation that included undercover police work at a network of illicit massage parlors in Oklahoma City and Lawton. Oklahoma County court records showed pandering and conspiracy charges were filed against two men and two women from Oklahoma City. An affidavit of probable cause said that one of the men had links to businesses in Houston and the nearby suburb of Spring, Texas, and that the man wired cash on two different occasions to China. In February 2021, a man was arrested and charged in Comanche County for sex trafficking of a minor. Detectives with the Special Operations Unit found an ad on a website typically used for prostitution through which they made contact with the minor. The minor agreed to perform sexual acts in exchange for money and was detained once she made it to the agreed upon location. The minor originally claimed to be 19-years-old, but it was later determined she was under the age of 18. Detectives say they asked the teenager for her consent to look through her phone and found naked pictures of the minor with a 27-year-old man, and messages from him about driving her to be sexually abused by clients. The man’s bond was set at $250,000 and he faced a charge of human trafficking.

Among their efforts to reduce this illegal activity, local law enforcement agencies have incorporated the use of tactics that are intended to combat consumer-level demand for prostitution. Lawton Police Department officers have conducted reverse stings at street level since at least 1998, and have launched web-based investigations targeting sex buyers since at least 2014. For example, in January 2014, a web-based reversal staged at a local hotel resulted in the arrests of 13 sex buyers. The operation was one part of a multi-part, multi-agency effort to combat prostitution and sex trafficking. The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics, the Lawton Police Department, and Homeland Security collaborated to conduct “Operation Pretty Woman Three,” which was the largest of three operations launched in late 2013 and early 2014 targeting prostitution arranged online. The operation identified two victims of human trafficking, and produced 25 arrests– including 13 male sex buyers. The investigations were staged at local hotels where agents acted as both sex buyers and prostituted persons. In March 2018, eleven people were arrested and charged with prostitution or charges related to the crime after a sting operation by the Lawton Police Department Special Operations Unit and the Human Trafficking Unit of the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics. All of the arrests happened in the afternoon at a hotel on Second Street in Lawton. Authorities arrested six men who agreed to pay an undercover female officer for sex. The investigation used websites that were popular for prostitution ads. In July 2021, another sting operation resulted in the arrest of five male sex buyers, whose identities were disclosed in news releases.

Not all arrests of sex buyers are the result of reverse sting operations, but are the result of brothel raids or investigations conducted in response to leads about a particular suspect or prostitution enterprise. For example, in June 2013, an enforcement operation was conducted by agents from the Department of Homeland Security and members of the Lawton Police Department, and involved investigations and raids of eight massage parlors in Lawton over a two-day period. Five men believed to be sex buyers were arrested in the process, including two soldiers from nearby Fort Sill. According to reports, the raid followed an investigation of prostitution activity on

Individuals arrested for prostitution-related offenses in Lawton have at times had their identities disclosed in press. In February 1999, the Lawton Constitution reported that city officials were considering producing a “John TV” program wherein arrested sex buyers’ names and other identifying information would air on local access television. It is unclear if such a program was ever implemented.

Oklahoma laws prohibiting prostitution under 21 O.S. 1029 allow for penalties including a jail term of 30 days to one year, and a fine of up to $2,500 on the first offense. The fines increase with subsequent convictions, and the court may also mandate 40 to 80 hours of community service.

Key Partners

  • Lawton Police Department
  • Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics
  • Department of Homeland Security
    • Homeland Security Investigations

Key Sources

Brothel Raids, Investigations with Male Sex Buyer Arrests:

Street-Level Reverse Stings:

  • “Briefs; LPD Makes Prostitution Arrests,” Lawton Constitution, August 10 1998.
  • “Prostitute Complains about LPD Sting Tactic,” Lawton Constitution, October 22 2001.
  • “Six Snared in Zone 1 LPD Sting,” Lawton Constitution, September 19 2002.
  • “Officer Goes Undercover as Prostitute,” Lawton Constitution, September 8 2007.
  • “City Police Arrest 7 for Prostitution,” Lawton Constitution, August 30 2008.
  • (2021)

Web-Based Reverse Stings:

Proposed Identity Disclosure via “John TV”:

  • “Council to Consider Local ‘John TV’ Program,” Lawton Constitution, February 23 1999.

Community Service:

Background on Sex Trafficking in the Area:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

Documented Violence Against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:

State Oklahoma
Type County
Population 122063
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