El Cajon, 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

El Cajon is a city of approximately 105,000 residents, located 16 miles east of San Diego in California. Prostitution activity has been well-documented within the city and surrounding areas, 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. Prostitution related violence – including homicide – has also occurred within the region.

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. Demand reduction tactics used in the city include reverse stings, the disclosure of sex buyer identities, and SOAP orders.  The El Cajon Police Department began implementing reverse stings decades ago, in 1989.  They have at times conduct an average of 6 reverse stings annually, netting upwards of 100 sex buyers arrested in a single year. City officials and local law enforcement have also coordinated efforts to create prostitution exclusion zones; once a sex buyer is arrested and charged with solicitation, he is placed on “geo-probation,” barring him from entering areas of the city known for commercial sex activity. Additionally, the ECPD posts photos of those convicted of prostitution-related offenses on the department’s official website.  By posting photos, officers hope to encourage the community to report repeat offenders and/or those in violation of their geo-probation.

Key Partners

  • El Cajon Police Department



Key Sources

Reverse Stings:

Identity Disclosure:

Auto Seizure:

  • “El Cajon Adopts Overkill Against Johns and Junkies”, San Diego Union-Tribune, December 11 2003.
  • “Men Arrested, Vehicles Towed in El Cajon Prostitution Sting”, San Diego Union-Tribune, January 28 2004.
  • “El Cajon Begins Seizing Vehicles for Solicitation of Prostitution”, San Diego Union-Tribune, January 29 2004.
  • “Vehicle-Seizure Policy Challenged”, San Diego Union-Tribune, February 7 2004.
  • “Vehicles Seized from 8 Men in Sex Sting”, San Diego Union-Tribune, February 27 2004.
  • “Owners Can Pay for Return of Autos”, San Diego Union-Tribune, March 6 2004.
  • “Sixteen Are Arrested in Prostitution Sting”, San Diego Union-Tribune, February 3 2005.
  • https://www.issuelab.org/resources/1191/1191.pdf (2008)

SOAP Orders:

Background on Prostitution and Sex Trafficking in the Area:

State California
Type City
Population 105432
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