Dallas Center, IA

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

Dallas Center is a city of approximately 2,000 residents in Dallas County, Iowa. It is part of the Des MoinesWest Des Moines Metropolitan Statistical Area. Instances of prostitution and sex trafficking are well-documented in the city and surrounding areas. Among the more serious issues associated with commercial sex in the area is sex trafficking. For example, in August of 2021, the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office participated in a multi-state sex trafficking operation focused on combatting the demand for commercial sex and the rescue of sex trafficking victims called Operation United Front. According to a press release from the Iowa Department of Public Safety, the operation was considered to be the first of its kind, as it was both buyer-centric and victim-centric. Participating Iowa law enforcement agencies included the Iowa Department of Public Safety, Ankeny Police Department, Clive Police Department, Dallas County Sheriff’s Office, Des Moines Police Department, Jasper County Sheriff’s Office, Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Urbandale Police Department, Walcott Police Department, West Des Moines Police Department, and the Mid-Iowa Narcotics Enforcement Task Force conducted 10 operations to combat sex trafficking throughout Iowa. DPS said officers executed 10 search warrants, identified five businesses involved in sex trafficking, made 11 arrests and seized a large quantity of cash.

To combat prostitution and sex trafficking in the area, local law enforcement agencies have targeted consumer-level demand for commercial sex, which provides the revenue stream driving all commercial sex and trafficking. To identify and apprehend sex buyers driving the local prostitution and sex trafficking markets, reverse stings have been conducted. For example, in 2009, the West Des Moines Police Department conducted an investigation that resulted in the arrest of 13 male sex buyers. According to reports, the investigation was a result of numerous reports from residents regarding suspicions of prostitution-related activity occurring at a local motel. One of the arrested sex buyers was a Dallas Center resident. Additionally, in 2016, the Mid-Iowa Narcotics Enforcement Task Force conducted a reverse sting operation in Dallas County, that resulted in the arrest of 21 individuals for prostitution and related charges. The identities of arrested offenders were included in reports by local news sources.

Loss of employment is also consequence of buying sex that has occurred within the community. For example, in August of 2015, a Dallas Center city councilman resigned after being arrested during a prostitution sting in Polk County, IA. Within a week of his arrest, the sex buyer submitted a letter of resignation, which was accepted it the next city council meeting. According to reports, the former councilman was one of 20 male sex buyers arrested during a reverse-sting operation by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. Five of the male sex buyers were arrested and booked, while the sex buyers were cited and released with a specific court date. The Des Moines Police Department arrested a total of 21 male sex buyers during its own sting, which ran parallel to the county’s. These operations commonly run during the Iowa State Fair. Some of the arrested buyers had attempted to pick up undercover operatives disguised as prostituted women on the street, while other were arrested in hotels during online stings.

State Iowa
Type City
Population 1915
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