Gardena, 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

Gardena is a Los Angeles suburb of about 60,000 residents, near Manhattan Beach and Compton, in Los Angeles County, CA. The city has experienced longstanding problems of prostitution and sex trafficking, and the police department fields complaints from residents and businesses regularly. For example, in 1990, residents along Rosecrans Corridor petitioned to annex the corridor and surrounding streets, in effort to reduce prostitution-related activity through an increase in local police presence in the area. In addition, the city of Gardena passed an ordinance in 1990, that aimed to reduce prostitution and related activity within local hotels/motels, by requiring hotels/motels be constructed on larger plots of land. This was intended to deter the construction of smaller motels that were typically used as fronts for prostitution activity in the city. Among the more serious issues associated with the commercial sex market in the city is child sex trafficking. For example, in 2021, a Gardena man and Crips gang member was sentenced to 40 years in a federal prison for sex trafficking seven teenage girls as young as 13. The offender had been sex trafficking underage girls for over a decade, and according to prosecutors, had transported his victims from California to Arizona, Texas, Georgia, Washington, D.C., and Nevada. The offender often punched the girls in the face, beat them, and/or whipped them with a belt. The case stemmed from the 2013 rescue of a 16-year-old girl, who told investigators that she had been recruited by the offender to travel from Minneapolis to Los Angeles. When she arrived in Southern California, the offender sex trafficked her in motels and through online advertisements on websites known for prostitution such as and Facebook. According to reports, the victim had escaped at one point, but returned after getting lost and unable to make an income. Federal prosecutors stated that,

“When she returned, defendant beat her and whipped her with a belt for leaving.”

After the victim was rescued, investigators located six other girls who had been sex trafficked by the offender between 2003 and 2010. In addition, the offender branded the victims with a “Birdd” moniker, after the offender’s local name.

The Gardena Police Department (GPD) has collaborated with Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LACSD) deputies on reverse stings designed to address consumer level demand for commercial sex. For example, in 1988, the LACSD deputies raided a massage parlor, arresting two masseuses for prostitution. After the raid, deputies stayed to operate the business themselves for an evening, replacing the spa’s receptionist and masseuses. The undercover operation resulted in the arrest of six male sex buyers on suspicion of soliciting prostitution. Neighbors had complained for months that the spa was a front for prostitution-related activity. The city has also conducted traditional street-level reverse stings. For example, in 1990, the Gardena Police Department with assistance from the LACSD, conducted a street-level reverse sting that resulted in the arrest of 25 male sex buyers. The men were arrested after attempting to solicit sex from undercover female officers. In July of 1990, another street-level reverse sting was conducted by local and county officials that resulted in 1the arrest of 41 male sex buyers on charges of soliciting prostitution.

State California
Type City
Population 59709
Comments are closed.