Hillsboro, OR

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

Hillsboro is a city in Northwestern Oregon, of approximately 107,000 residents, located 20 miles outside of Portland, OR in Washington County, OR. Prostitution and sex trafficking have been significant and pervasive problems in the community for decades. Instances of their occurrence have resulted in complaints from residents and businesses to local law enforcement. Among the more serious issues associated with the area’s commercial sex market is child sex trafficking.

In effort to reduce the demand for commercial sex in the area, the Hillsboro Police Department has conducted both street-level and web-based reverse sting operations. As a result of these operations, the identities of arrested sex buyers are frequently released to local media outlets. For example, in 2007, Hillsboro police conducted a street-level reverse sting operation that resulted in the arrest of two men. According to reports, the sex buyers were arrested by undercover officers after attempting to solicit an undercover female detective for sex in exchange for $20. The names and ages of those arrested were reported to local news outlets.

As sex trafficking has become a growing concern in the greater Portland area, the Hillsboro Police Department has participated in at least six of the FBI’s annual child sex trafficking investigations, “Operation Cross Country,” since 2009. These sweeps, organized by the FBI’s Innocence Lost National Initiative, are part of a coordinated effort to identify and apprehend individuals engaged in child sex trafficking. For example, in a 2012 sweep, 100 suspected traffickers were arrested and 79 children were recovered nationally; 3 of the child victims were said to be from the greater Portland area.

In March, 2018 investigators arrested 18 men during a reverse sting aimed at reducing the demand for commercial sex across Washington County. The operation was conducted by a collaboration of Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Hillsboro Police Department, Lake Oswego Police Department, the Portland Police Bureau’s sex trafficking team, and the Washington County District Attorney’s Office. The men were charged with soliciting prostitution, and their identities were included in news releases. The arrested men were from a pool of over 70 contacts received by investigators who used posted decoy ads on websites known for prostitution and sex trafficking to communicate with potential sex buyers and meet at an unidentified Tigard hotel. Commercial sexual solicitation in Oregon is a misdemeanor, carrying fines up to $6,250 and up to one year in jail. A similar operation had been conducted in late 2017, and resulted in 40 contacts; detectives could have attempted to meet and arrest each of those individuals, but they instead chose to give the prospective sex buyers a verbal warning, along with a promise they would be arrested if ever found to be involved in another prostitution situation.

Key Partners

Key Sources

Web-Based Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

Background on Sex Trafficking in the Area:

Documented Violence Against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:

State Oregon
Type City
Population 106633
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