Goleta is a city of about 30,000 residents, located in southern Santa Barbara County, California. Prostitution is a well-documented problem in the city, particularly indoors in storefronts (such as massage parlors) that serve as brothels. In one brothel investigation in 2013, an assault rifle was found in a massage parlor in which women were selling sex. To reduce demand, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office (SBCSO) has conducted web-based reverse stings in the community. Men arrested for attempting to buy sex had their names, photos, and other identifying information reported in the news and on the SBCSO website. For example, in September 2018, the SBCSO made 17 arrests during a two-day prostitution sting in Goleta. Investigators placed an ad on several websites known for online prostitution-related advertisements. The ad announced the availability of a woman willing to exchange sex for money. An undercover detective negotiated with those who responded to the ad and provided them with the location of a hotel meeting place. Those who arrived at the location were arrested on suspicion of solicitation of prostitution.
- Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office
- Web-Based Reverse Stings with Shaming:
- “Four Men Arrested for Soliciting Prostitution; Sheriff’s Department Set up Sting Operation with Online Sex Ad,” Santa Barbara Independent, March 2 2012.
- “20 Men Arrested Following Prostitution Sting at Goleta Hotel,” Press Release, Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office, July 9 2016.
- “Prostitution Sting Nets 20 Men; Arrestees Include a Santa Barbara CEO, College Students and Seniors,” Santa Barbara Independent, July 11 2016.
- “20 Men Arrested in ‘Reverse John’ Prostitution Sting at Goleta Hotel; Two North County Residents among Those Arrested,” Lompoco Record, July 12 2016.
- http://www.ksby.com/story/17-arrests-during-undercover-prostitution-sting-in-goleta (2018)
- https://www.independent.com/news/2018/sep/26/prostitution-sting-arrests-17-goleta/ (2018)
- Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “Four Charged in Goleta Prostitution Investigation,” Santa Barbara Noozhawk, December 13 2013.
- “Massage Parlor Employees Cited for Solicitation of Prostitution; Goleta Locations Visited by Undercover Detectives during Sting Operation,” Santa Barbara Independent, December 13 2013.