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El Monte is a city with a population of around 115,000, located in Los Angeles County, CA. Prostitution and sex trafficking have been persistent problems in the city and surrounding areas for decades. The El Monte Police Department has been conducting reverse stings routinely since 2006, and occasionally before then. For example, in August of 2003, South El Monte’s assistant city manager was arrested on suspicion of soliciting sex from an undercover female officer. The man was driving a city-owned car when arrested in El Monte on July 31, 2003. He had allegedly offered the undercover officer $40 in exchange for sex acts. He was booked and released, and given an arraignment date.
The El Monte Police Department Special Investigations Team is specifically assigned to deal with prostitution arrests and investigations. Reverse stings and vehicle seizures are the primary methods of combating demand in the city. Vehicle seizures were first employed for sex buyers in 2002. Arrestees were required to pay $120 to retrieve their vehicles and a $400 “investigations fee.” The reverse stings were conducted monthly, on average, by the Special Investigations Team in the period from about 2006-2012.
Shaming and loss of employment are consequence of buying sex that have occurred within the city. For example, in October, 2009, the City Manager of El Monte was arrested in a prostitution sting in Pomona on and soon afterward resigned from his position. The offender had been city manager since 2006, was one of 30 people arrested in the prostitution sting. The sex buyer sent a letter of resignation to the deputy city attorney, dated effectively the day of his arrest. The man said in his letter that he was leaving his position without severance or other compensation. The El Monte City Council accepted the resignation and unanimously voted on an Interim City Manager, to be temporarily appointed for 90 days.
Reverse Stings, Web-Based Stings, & Shaming:
- “Sting Targets Men Who Pay for Sex”, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, June 5 2003.
- “Sex-for-Pay Just Got Pricey”, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, June 12 2003.
- “19 Year Old Killed in Parking Lot of Bar”, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, June 27 2003.
- “Officer Held in Prostitution Sting”, Los Angeles Times, August 10 2003.
- https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2003-aug-10-me-sting10-story.html (2003)
- “Police Arrest Men During El Monte Prostitution Sting”, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, May 19 2007.
- https://www.sgvtribune.com/2018/04/20/17-men-arrested-in-human-trafficking-operation-in-south-el-monte/ (2018)
Sex Buyer Fired or Resigned Due to Arrest:
- https://www.publicceo.com/el-monte-city-manager-arrested-in-prostitution-sting/ (2009)
- https://www.nbclosangeles.com/el-monte-city-official-busted-in-prostitution-sting (2009)
Background on Sex Trafficking and Prostitution in the Area:
- “New Law Aims to Curb Prostitution in El Monte”, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, November 26 2007.
- https://www.highlandnews.net/news/public_safety/el-monte-woman-arrested-for-prostitution-at-massage-business (2019)
- https://www.justice.gov/usao-cdca/woman-faces-federal-charges-running-sex-trafficking-operation (2020)
- https://www.sgvtribune.com/more-charges-filed-against-woman-accused-of-sex-trafficking-immigrants/ (2020)
- https://ktla.com/massage-parlor-owner-facing-federal-charges-related-to-sex-trafficking-5-immigrant-women-doj/ (2020)