Elk City is a city of approximately 12,000 residents, situated along Interstate 40 and Route 66 in Western Oklahoma’s Beckham County. It is roughly equidistant between Oklahoma City and Amarillo, Texas. At least one large scale anti-prostitution effort has been undertaken in Elk City focused on the arrest of sex buyers. In October 2013, the Elk City Police Department and agents from the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs conducted three undercover prostitution stings in the area, as “part of an ongoing effort to find and protect potential victims of human trafficking.” Over the course of seven days, officers arrested 25 people– 16 prostituted women, 3 procurers, and 3 sex buyers. It is unclear whether the johns were arrested using traditional reverse sting tactics (namely, that they were approached by an undercover female officer posing as a decoy) or by some other means. The names and identities of all of the individuals arrested were not released.
Oklahoma law prohibits people from engaging in prostitution under 21 O.S. 1029, which addresses both prostitution and solicitation of prostitution in the same manner under the same statute. Both prostitution and solicitation are misdemeanors. The penalties for prostitution and solicitation include a jail term of 30 days to one year and a fine of up to $2,500 on the first offense. The fines increase with subsequent convictions, and the court may also mandate 40 to 80 hours of community service.
- Elk City Police Department
- Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (OBN)
Stings with John Arrests:
- “Dozens Arrested in 3 Undercover Prostitution Stings in Elk City”, CBS/KWTV-DT 9, October 28 2013.
- “Prostitution Ring Busted, 25 Arrested in Elk City, Investigators Say”, ABC/KOCO-TV 5, October 29 2013.