Compton, 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

Compton is a city of about 94,000 residents located in Los Angeles County, CA. It is situated close to the Los Angeles metro area near Lynwood and Hawthorne. Prostitution and sex trafficking are pervasive problems in the city, particularly along Long Beach Boulevard. For example, in 2014, the Compton Police Station and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department initiated an investigation along the corridor as a result of numerous residential complaints regarding increased prostitution-related activity within the area. The operation resulted in the arrest of three male sex traffickers/pimps locally known as the “Compton Division.” The offenders were arrested and booked on multiple counts of pimping, pandering, and human trafficking. Local police released the identities and photos of the arrested offenders to local media outlets. In addition, numerous investigations concerning child sex trafficking have been reported. For example, in 2018, the Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Taskforce, along with deputies from Compton Sheriff’s Station, conducted a sex trafficking operation that resulted in the arrest of 36 individuals and two female juveniles, ages 16 and 17, who were identified as commercially sexually exploited children. Twenty of those arrested were male sex buyers who solicited undercover deputies for various sex acts. They were transported and booked at the Century Regional Detention Facility.

Among the tactics used to address prostitution and sex trafficking are street-level reverse stings. In a memorandum to the Center for Problem-Oriented Policing (COPS), the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department reported that deputies at the Compton Station conducted 12 reverse stings resulting in the arrest of 271 male sex buyers between November 2000 and April 2002. Sex buyers arrested during this period were given “probation sanctions as well as mandatory community service, HIV and in some cases drug education classes.” It is unclear if such sanctions are still in place. To reduce the demand for commercial sex in the city, police have routinely conduct reverse sting operations. For example, a reverse sting operation conducted in 2012 led by the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department’s Compton Station and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Major Crimes Bureau Vice Unit resulted in the arrest of 12 male sex buyers and 4 male sex traffickers/pimps. The operation used undercover female deputies as decoys over a 12-hour period at a local motel along Long Beach Boulevard.

In May 2014, police conducted foot patrols along the streets of Lynwood and to the Compton line as part of the “Prostitution and John Abatement Foot Beat” launched by the Sheriff’s Department’s Major Crimes Bureau. The Bureau reportedly has conducted operations like this in Compton as well. Police said the sex buyer patrols have been done in Compton, but never before in Lynwood. The purpose of the May 2014 operation was to reduce or eliminate prostitution along the boulevard between Lynwood and Compton. Officers from the Century, Compton, and East Los Angeles sheriff’s stations, along with reserve deputies, took part in the program. Personnel from the county Probation and Children and Family Services departments were also part of the task force, along with city employees from the business license, parking, and code enforcement divisions. The operation resulted in 20 arrests, including prostitution, drug offenses, and outstanding warrants. Two 18-year-old males were arrested for the sex trafficking of a juvenile.

In December 2016, the Los Angeles Human Trafficking Task Force, along with sheriff’s deputies, conducted a prostitution sting in Compton that arrested 11 men for soliciting and two women for prostitution. The five-hour operation was conducted along Long Beach Boulevard. The sheriff’s department deployed undercover female deputies on the street posing as prostituting women. No names of arrested sex buyers were immediately released.

In addition to street-level reverse stings, web-based reverse stings have also been implemented in the city. In July 2018, a web-based reverse sting was conducted that resulted in the arrest of 20 male sex buyers after they allegedly attempted to solicit sex acts from undercover Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputies. In September 2018, an additional web-based reverse sting was conducted that resulted in the arrest of 12 male sex buyers for soliciting prostitution and two men on felony charges of soliciting a minor online and pandering, respectively.

Key Sources

Street-Level Reverse Stings:

Web-Based Reverse Stings:


 Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

Documented Violence Against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:

State California
Type City
Population 93597
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