Deschutes County, OR
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Situated on the edge of the Cascade mountain range in Central Oregon, along the Deschutes River, Deschutes County has about 204,000 residents. Its government seat and principle population center is the city of Bend. Prostitution and sex trafficking have been well-documented in the county. This activity and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates results in complaints to law enforcement agencies. Among the more serious problems associated with commercial sex in the area include child sex trafficking.
To combat these crimes, local law enforcement agencies have targeted consumer-level demand for commercial sex, which provides the revenue stream driving all prostitution and sex trafficking. The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office has collaborated with local police on demand reduction efforts. As early as 1992, local ordinances provided for the seizure of vehicles used during instances of soliciting prostitution. Additionally, to identify and apprehend local sex buyers, the Bend Police Department (BPD) has conducted investigations and reverse stings. For example, in May 2009, detectives conducted a web-based reverse sting where they contacted women through websites known for prostitution and sex trafficking. The operation resulted in the arrest of six women and three men (in some cases, the men were acting a sex traffickers/pimps). Charges included conspiracy to commit prostitution, prostitution, outstanding arrest warrants, compelling prostitution, promoting prostitution, and first-degree possession of child pornography. According to the BPD release, the sting was conducted because of “a marked increase in online postings for sexual services from prostitutes in the Bend area.” Detectives from the BPD routinely monitor websites which are believed to allow individuals to post solicitations for prostitution.
In August 2016, four people were arrested or cited in a sting at several Bend hotels. The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office assisted the BPD, Redmond Police Department, Sunriver Police Department, and Oregon State Police in conducting the “proactive operation targeting human trafficking” between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. One 19-year-old woman was rescued who had been a victim of sex trafficking since she was 13. One of the arrested sex buyers cited and released on a charge of soliciting prostitution. Police said a similar operation was conducted a few years previously, though it was not similarly publicized.
Demand reduction tactics also include ad-hoc sex buyer arrests. In May 2019, Deschutes County 911 received a call regarding suspected prostitution. One man and two women ended up being arrested on prostitution charges. Numerous demand reduction events and conferences have been held in the county. These events educate community members on the role that demand reduction has in eliminating prostitution and sex trafficking.
Street-Level Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure, Vehicle Seizure:
- https://www.nytimes.com/1992/12/04/nyregion/price-of-a-prostitute-the-client-s-car.html (1992)
- https://ktvz.com/news/2016/08/19/bend-prostitution-sting-shines-spotlight-on-sex-trafficking/ (2016)
- https://www.bendbulletin.com/localstate/arrests-made-in-bend-sex-trafficking-investigation/article (2016)
Web-based Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure, Cameras:
- Prostitution sting leads to nine arrests (2009)
- https://www.bendbulletin.com/court-papers-shed-new-light-on-suspected-prostitute-ring/ (2009)
- https://kpic.com/news/local/oregon-man-linked-to-underage-prostitution-ring (2009)
- https://www.bendoregon.gov/Home/Components=News (2012)
- https://ktvz.compolice-online-prostitution-ad-leads-to-bend-mans-arrest/ (2019)
- https://centraloregondaily.com/bend-man-arrested-in-online-prostitution-sting/ (2019)
Sex Buyer Arrests, Identity Disclosure:
- http://www.mycentraloregon.com/arrests-in-prostitution-sting-at-bend-motel/ (2016)
- https://ktvz.com/three-charged-in-prostitution-raid-at-ne-bend-motel/ (2016)
- http://www.ktvz.com/news/bend/three-charged-in-prostitution-raid-at-ne-bend-motel (2016)
- https://www.bendbulletin.com/bend-physical-therapist-former-pro-athlete-arrested-on-suspicion-of-soliciting-prostitution/ (2019)
- https://ktvz.com/police-arrest-3-on-prostitution-charges-at-ne-bend-hotel/ (2019)
- https://www.bendsource.com/bend/underage-and-underground (2014)
- https://ktvz.com/bend-prostitution-sting-shines-spotlight-on-sex-trafficking/ (2016)
- https://issuu.com/thesourceweekly/docs/061616_web (2016)
- https://www.bendsource.com/bend/human-trafficking (2016)
- https://ktvz.com/triumph-child-sex-trafficking-survivor-to-lead-bend-anti-trafficking-group/ (2020)
Background on Local Prostitution and Sex Trafficking:
- https://www.bendbulletin.com/bend-area-prostitution-sting-nets-9-arrests (2009)
- https://www.kgw.com/9-arrested-in-bend-prostitution-sting/ (2009)
- https://www.bendsource.com/bend/bendandaposs-brothels-the-sin-dustry-that-built-our-city/ (2010)
- http://www.ktvz.com/news/human-trafficking-survivor-speaks-in-bend (2017)
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