Fort Collins, CO

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

Fort Collins is a city of roughly 169,000 residents, situated 65 miles north of Denver in Larimer County, CO. For at least two decades, instances of prostitution, particularly those arranged online and conducted within city hotels and adult-oriented businesses, have been reported throughout the county. Numerous cases of prostitution, solicitation of prostitution, commercial sexual exploitation, and child sex trafficking have also been documented.

Although media outlets have reported sex buyer arrests in Larimer County dating back to the mid-1990s, evidence of demand-focused stings by local law enforcement first appeared in 2015. In late March and early April of 2015, the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office, in collaboration with the Fort Collins Police Department, conducted an investigation to identify individuals attempting to purchase sex online. Officers placed decoy advertisements on websites known for commercial sex activity and arranged to the meet the individuals who responded to the listings at local hotels. Over a two-week period and two web-based reverse stings, 10 sex buyers were arrested. Both operations were conducted with the cooperation of local hotels in the area. An additional operation was conducted later that same year (2015), resulting in the arrest of five male sex buyers. Regarding the success of these operations, NET Officer Annie Hill said:

“We’ve definitely noticed a decrease in prostitution activity since we’ve started conducting these operations.” 

Following the investigations, all of the arrested sex buyers’ identities and mugshots were publicized in the press, each photo being indicated as taken by the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office.

In January 2018, 21 male sex buyers were arrested in a web-based reverse sting in Larimer County. The Larimer County Sheriff’s Office and Fort Collins Police Department posted false advertisements on various “escort sections of common buy/sell/trade websites.” In only one day, a total of 444 people responded to the ads, with a total of 21 men arranging appointments for what they believed to be commercial sex transactions, which were actually a web-based reverse prostitution sting.

In late July 2018, 11 male sex buyers were arrested during a “Human Trafficking Demand Reduction Operation” that attracted hundreds of men looking to buy sexual services. During the one-day operation, 282 potential sex buyers responded to false advertisements placed online by Fort Collins police. Eleven men scheduled appointments and agreed to pay for various sex acts, totaling $1,825 in monetary exchanges ($165 per male sex buyer).

License Suspension

In the spring of 2020, the owners of Fort Collins Chinese Foot Massage, as well as Touch of Heaven Massage, were arrested and charged with the following:

  • Keeping a Place of Prostitution – a Class 2 Misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $250-$1,000 and/or 3-12 months in jail
  • Pimping – a Class 3 Felony punishable by a fine of $3,000-$750,000 and/or a jail term of four to 12 years

Records indicate that the individuals were charged on numerous other related offenses in addition to having their licenses suspended, which were ineligible for renewal.

John School: First Offender Restoration Initiative

An option prosecutors may utilize for arrested sex buyers in Larimer County is an 8-hour, 1-day mandatory “John School” class for first-time offenders. First Offender Restoration Initiative (FORI) is an educational alternative sentencing program in Northern Colorado designed for men charged with patronizing and/or soliciting a prostitute. FORI is an interactive seminar that includes education and “exposure to the realities of prostitution and sex trafficking in Northern Colorado.” The program is delivered by local therapist Chris Bruno and was developed in partnership with multiple agencies in the Fort Collins area, including the Larimer County District Attorney’s OfficeFort Collins Police DepartmentLarimer County Sheriff’s Office, and a local anti-trafficking organization called Restoration Counseling.

The fee for the First Offender Restoration Initiative class is $375. Classes begin at 8 a.m. and finish no later than 6 p.m. Specific locations are announced one week prior to the class to maintain confidentiality. Only those deemed eligible by the courts may attend. Attendance to the entire class is mandatory in order to receive the Certificate of Completion. In many cases, participants who complete the FORI course and receive a certificate of completion may have their charges reduced or dismissed.

Key Sources

Web-Based Reverse Stings with Identity Disclosure:

John School:

Vehicle Seizure:

Employment Loss, Sex Buyer Arrests, Identity Disclosure:

Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

State Colorado
Type City
Population 168538
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