Flagstaff is a city with a population of approximately 70,000, located in northern Arizona. Problems associated with prostitution and sex trafficking are well-documented in the city, and throughout Cococino County and the neighboring Yavapai County region.
A news report in January 2019 stated that during 2018, more than 600 individuals in the area had responded to decoy ads placed by police and/or attempted to purchase sex with a minor during several sting operations conducted by law enforcement agencies. For example, in March 2018, a multi-agency prostitution sting in Flagstaff resulted in the arrests of men who were charged with child prostitution. The Flagstaff Police Department, along with investigators from the Federal Bureau of Investigations, and Prescott Valley Police Department, made eight arrests during the one-day undercover investigation. The investigation focused on people paying to have sex with minors, under the age of 16. Police noted that they took over 100 calls from would-be suspects, most of whom declined when they learned the age of the girls involved. No actual children were a part of the sting. According to Flagstaff Police, most of the men allegedly acknowledged that they were told over the phone by the “girl” they were coming to meet that she was 16 before they arrived at the hotel room used for the sting.
Flagstaff Initiative Against Trafficking (FIAT) is a program housed by Northland Family Help Center. It was created in August 2017 to pursue the objectives of deterring people from purchasing sex and providing resources for trafficking victims and survivors. In its first year, FIAT identified at least 63 adults and 32 youth in the Flagstaff community who had experienced trafficking.
- Flagstaff Police Department
- Federal Bureau of Investigations
- Prescott Valley Police Department
Web-Based Reverse Stings and Shaming
- “Flagstaff prostitution sting nabs 8, one from Prescott Valley.” The Daily Courier, March 15, 2018.
- “Stung: Flagstaff child prostitution suspects offer myriad excuses.” Arizona Daily Sun, March 16, 2018.
- https://azdailysun.com/news/fiat-fights-modern-day-slavery-human-trafficking-prominent-in-flagstaff (2019)
Background on Prostitution and Sex Trafficking in the Area: