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Corvallis is a city of approximately 58,600 residents located in Benton County, OR. Prostitution and sex trafficking have been known to happen in the area dating back to World War II.
The Corvallis Police Department (CPD), much like their counterparts in Albany, Salem, Eugene, and Portland, has conducted reverse stings to combat consumer-level demand. In June 2013, eight male sex buyers between the ages of 21 and 51 were arrested in a single operation. The web-based reverse sting was conducted by the CPD with assistance from the Benton County Sheriff’s Office (BSCO) and the Albany Police Department. Undercover investigators posted a decoy advertisement to a website offering commercial sex, and over the course of the 10-hour operation, received “numerous phone calls from men trying to arrange to meet with [a] female prostitute.” As the men arrived and made an explicit offer of money for sexual services, they were arrested. The identities, images, ages, and hometowns of arrested sex buyers were released to media outlets. All eight suspects were either booked and released from the Benton County Jail or cited and released at the scene.
In January 2018, a detective sergeant at the BCSO gathered evidence about the level of prostitution and sex trafficking activity in Benton County by placing two separate online advertisements for paid sex at the beginning of the year. He found over 200 men and women responded and indicated a desire to engage in paid sex. The operation demonstrated how prevalent prostitution is in Benton County and Oregon as a whole.
In February 2018, detectives posted an online advertisement to Backpage.com. Of the 70 people who responded to the ad, 10 arrived at a local Rodeway Inn. They were arrested after meeting with undercover detectives and affirming their intention to pay for sex. Each of the men were taken to the Benton County Jail, where they were booked and released. The identities, images, ages, and hometowns of arrested sex buyers were released to media outlets. Two months later, three of the men pleaded guilty to commercial sexual solicitation during separate hearings. Each was sentenced to six months of bench probation and 40 hours of community service. The judge also ordered each man to pay $250 in fines, forfeit any money seized by law enforcement during the incident, and undergo a mental health evaluation and seek any recommended treatment. As of April 2018, the other seven men had entered not guilty pleas to the charge against them and their cases are pending.
In April, 2019 the BCSO conducted a two-day prostitution operation that led to the arrest of seven men at a Corvallis hotel. Detectives posed as a prostituted woman online. Once the men agreed to pay a fee to engage in sexual conduct, they officially committed the crime of commercial sexual solicitation and were arrested for a class A misdemeanor. Over two days, over 100 people responded to the ad to pay for sex with a 19- to 24-year-old woman. Of those, seven arrived at a local hotel and were taken into custody. With limited beds available at the Benton County Jail, the seven men were booked and released with citations.
In December 2021, yet another web-based sting operation resulted in over 100 responses to an online ad placed by undercover officers. Eight men arrived at a hotel to complete the transactions and were arrested. Their identities were included in news releases. In a press release about the operation, the Benton County Sheriff’s Office said:
“This operation demonstrates again, how prevalent prostitution is in Benton County and Oregon. Prostitution is a dangerous criminal enterprise, closely related to human trafficking, narcotics, violence, and sexual assault. Prostitution also fuels the growth of modern-day slavery by providing a façade behind which traffickers for sexual exploitation operate.”
Web-Based Reverse Stings, Community Service, Identity Disclosure:
- “8 Men Arrested in Prostitution Sting”, ABC/KEZI-TV 9, June 9 2013.
- “Corvallis Police: 8 Men Arrested in Prostitution Sting, After Agreeing to Pay for Sex”, Columbus Republic, June 9 2013.
- “Prostitution Sting Corrals Eight Men”, Eugene Register-Guard, June 9 2013.
- “Police Discuss Prostitution Sting Set-Up”, Albany Democrat-Herald, June 13 2013.
- http://www.kezi.com/content/news/10-men-arrested-in-Corvallis-prostitution-sting (2018)
- http://kval.com/10-cited-in-online-prostitution-sting-in-corvallis-there-is-problem-in-our-community (2018)
- http://www.kptv.com/sheriff-prostitution-sting-in-corvallis-leads-to-arrests-of-10-men (2018)
- https://www.gazettetimes.com/news/local/benton-county-sheriff-s-office-arrests-10-men-in-prostitution-sting (2018)
- http://www.gazettetimes.com/three-men-arrested-in-prostitution-sting-enter-guilty-pleas (2018)
- https://kval.com/news/local/10-cited-in-online-prostitution-sting-in-corvallis-there-is-problem-in-our-community (2018)
- https://www.kezi.com/Seven-Men-Arrested-in-Prostitution-Sting (2019)
- https://kpic.com/news/local/8-men-arrested-at-corvallis-hotel-in-prostitution-sting (2021)
- https://ourcommunitynow.com/corvallis-or/sheriffs-nab-8-men-in-prostitution-sting-at-corvallis-hotel (2021)
- https://www.newsbreak.com/8-men-arrested-at-corvallis-hotel-in-prostitution-sting (2021)
- https://spotonoregon.com/willamette-valley/8-men-arrested-at-corvallis-hotel-in-prostitution.html (2021)
Background on Local Prostitution and Sex Trafficking: