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Dubuque County is a county located in the U.S. state of Iowa. The population is about 97,000. The county seat is Dubuque. Prostitution and sex trafficking activity have been well-documented in the communities and unincorporated areas of the county. This activity and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates results in complaints to law enforcement agencies from residents and businesses. Among the more serious crimes associated with the local commercial sex market is sex trafficking.
Consumer level demand provides the revenue stream for all prostitution and sex trafficking, and has therefore been targeted by local law enforcement agencies as a strategy for prevention and response. The Dubuque County Sheriff’s Department has collaborated with local and regional agencies to address demand. For example, reverse stings have been occurring in the city of Dubuque since at least 1983 in response to area business owners complaints that prostitution was hurting their businesses. The local commercial sex market has also supported documented cases of child prostitution, and at least one prostituted woman has been murdered in the city. The punishments imposed for men arrested in this city can range from fines and probation to a “two year prison term and/or a $5,000 fine.” Another consequence that arrested sex buyers may face is having their names offered by police to media outlets. For example, in February, 2022 authorities reported arresting 11 men in Dubuque — including Dubuque County’s treasurer — as part of a two-day reverse sting “targeting human trafficking through prostitution.” The identities of all 11 men were published in local news reports, with some news outlets posting photos as well as names and ages.
Loss of employment is another consequence of buying sex that has occurred in the County. In February, 2022, Dubuque County’s treasurer resigned two days after he was arrested in a prostitution sting. The County Auditor announced that he accepted the resignation of the County Treasurer. The Dubuque County Board of Supervisors would meet afterward to determine next steps. The sex buyer was one of the 11 men arrested on charges of prostitution during a two-day sting operation conducted by the Dubuque County Sheriff’s Department, Dubuque Police Department and Iowa State Patrol.
Some sex buyer arrests are the result of investigations of crimes against real victims, rather than through reverse stings using police decoys. For example, in 2020 a man was arrested and charged with soliciting prostitution after he engaged in transactional sex with her and she allegedly fled with his money. He called police to report the robbery, and in doing so admitted to soliciting prostitution and was then arrested and charged. Police responded to the residence in rural Dubuque after a robbery was reported, and the “victim” reported that he agreed to meet a woman that he made contact with through an “adult services” website.
- Dubuque County Sheriff’s Department
- Dubuque Police Department
- Dubuque Drug Task Force
Reverse Stings and Disclosure of Sex Buyer Identities:
- “Dubuque Police Crack Down on Prostitution; 18 Booked”, Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, August 14 1983.
- “Nine Arrested in Sex Dragnet”, Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, August 15 1983.
- “Prostitution”, Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, August 21 1983.
- “Fear Sweeps Prostitution Problem Off of Lower Main”, Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, October 6 1983.
- “Man Innocent of Prostitution; Police Stunned”, Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, October 12 1983.
- “Prostitution Problems Go Below Surface”, Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, October 17 1983.
- “2 Plead Guilty to Prostitution”, Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, November 16 1983.
- “Prostitution Case Dropped”, Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, December 9 1983.
- “Judge Dismisses Prostitution Charge”, Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, December 30 1983.
- “Herrig Lauds Sex Case Ruling”, Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, October 18 1984.
- “Man Arrested for Prostitution”, Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, July 20 1986.
- http://www.dyersvillecommercial.com/news/police-man-arrested-for-prostitution-for-soliciting-sex-from-teen (2017)
- https://www.dyersvillecommercial.com/dubuque-county-man-arrested-prostitution-sting-sentenced (2022)
Arrest of Sex Buyer:
- https://www.dailyadvent.com/Dubuque-County-man-charged-with-prostitution-for-arranging-to-pay-teen-for-sex (2020)
- https://www.x1071.com/2021/12/07/dubuque-man-faces-prostitution-charge/ (2020)
Loss of Employment:
- https://www.dyersvillecommercial.com/news/dubuque-county-treasurer-resigns-2-days-after-prostitution-arrest (2022)
- https://www.radioiowa.com/2022/02/12/dubuque-county-treasurer-arrested-on-prostitution-charge-resigns/ (2022)
- https://www.telegraphherald.com/news/tri-state/county treasurer resigns 2 days after prostitution arrest (2022)
Web Based Reverse Sting:
- https://www.kcrg.com/2022/02/12/dubuque-county-treasurer-resigns-amid-prostitution-scandal/ (2022)
- https://www.telegraphherald.com/news/breaking/article (2022)
Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:
- “Four Prostitution Arrests in Massage Parlor Raid”, Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, June 15 1975.
- “Parlor Counterattack to Prostitution Testimony”, Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, October 12 1975.
- “Girl: ‘Kidnapped, Forced into Sex’; Man Is Held Here”, Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, April 29 1979.
- “Fine, Sentence in Pimping Case”, Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, May 25 1979.
- “Convicted of City Prostitution Charge”, Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, September 22 1980.
- “Court Reverses Conviction in Local Mann Act Case”, Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, September 9 1981.
- “Man Convicted Again for Mann Act Violations”, Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, January 10 1982.
- “It’s a ‘Cool’ City for Prostitution”, Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, August 21 1983.
- “CR Factions Disagree on Prostitution Extent”, Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, May 6 1984.
- “2 Women Accused of Human Trafficking”, Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, October 24 2009.
Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “Police Push to Curb Prostitution”, Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, March 5 1976.
- “Jury Probes Prostitution in Dubuque”, Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, May 27 1976.
- “6 Arrested Here for Prostitution”, Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, July 14 1976.
- “Three Are Charged with Prostitution”, Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, September 6 1979.
- “2 Women Questioned in Slaying”, Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, December 11 1980.
- “Two Women Charged with Prostitution”, Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, July 27 1983.
- “Council Toughens Prostitution Laws”, Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, April 17 1984.
- “Crackdown, New Law Taking Prostitutes Off Streets”, Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, April 29 1984.
- “Police Use New Prostitution Rule”, Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, June 1 1984.
- “New Prostitution Law Nabs 3”, Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, July 6 1984.
- “Sex Is Big Business in Most Iowa Cities But Dubuque”, Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, September 19 1984.
- “Vice Crime”, Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, September 29 1990.
- “Dubuque Spared Vice Crime”, Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, September 30 1990.
- “2 Arrested at Health Spa”, Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, October 19 1993.
- “3 Convicted of Charges Related to Prostitution”, Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, February 18 2011.
- http://www.telegraphherald.com/news/tri-state/article (2012)
- “Raid Leads to Dubuque Prostitution Arrest”, ABC/KCRG-TV 9, May 9 2013.
- https://www.kcrg.com/content/news/Dubuque-authorities-make-prostitution-arrest (2017)
- https://www.kcrg.com/content/news/Two-arrested-in-Dubuque-on-prostitution-charges (2017)
- https://www.superhits106.com/2021/08/27/dubuque-woman-sentenced-for-prostitution/ (2021)