Idaho Falls is a city of approximately 60,000 residents in southeastern Idaho. It is located along an interstate highway, which police say contributes to prostitution and sex trafficking occurring in local hotels. In a web-based reverse sting occurring in 2011, the Idaho Falls Police Department arrested four men at a hotel. The operation was somewhat different than a standard web-based reverse sting: in this instance, police arrested two women who were selling sex online. The arrested women cooperated with police to conduct the reverse sting by continuing to run their online advertisement. Men who called their phone to arrange to buy sex were asked to meet at a hotel, where they were arrested by Idaho Falls police.
Some arrests of sex buyers in Idaho Falls are the product of allegations against specific individuals, rather than reverse stings using police decoys. For example, in May, 2021, an Idaho Falls man was arrested for raping a 15-year-old girl. In August, 2021, a new probable cause affidavit stated that the man also reportedly raped a 17-year-old girl and reportedly conspired to attempt to sex traffic other girls at a group home. The affidavit stated the man gave both victims drugs and then raped them. One victim said she intended to pay the man $30 for the tattoos at the first meeting, but that he demanded one of them perform a sex act instead. One refused, but the other victim performed the sex act. She said they later passed out from the drugs the man gave them, and that she woke up while he was raping her. Two victims received the tattoos, and then were told they needed to have sex with the man as payment, and were threatened with guns when one refused. Another girl who met with the man was told she could keep 10 percent of any money they made from selling sex and that they would keep 90 percent. The man also demanded and received nude photographs from one of the girls via social media. He was charged in Bonneville County Court with rape, punishable with a minimum of one year in prison and up to a life sentence. He was also charged with possession of child sexually exploitative material, punishable with up to 10 years in prison. This case involved many serious felony offenses, including rape and extortion of minors, sex trafficking of children, and distribution of child sexual abuse materials, but for the purposes of Demand Forum, meets the criteria for an arrest of a sex buyer since the man demanded sex in exchange for something of value (tattoos).
- Idaho Falls Police Department
Web-Based Reverse Stings with Shaming:
- “Four Men, Two Women Arrested during Prostitution Sting in I.F.,” Idaho State Journal, October 31 2011.
- “Police Bust Men in Prostitution Sting; Business Burglarized; Men Arrested for Soliciting Sex,” Press Release, Idaho Falls Police Department, October 31 2011.
- “Four Arrested in Idaho Sex Sting,” NBC/KTVB-TV 7, November 1 2011.
Arrest and Shaming of Sex Buyer:
- https://www.postregister.com/news/crime_courts/second-rape-charge-filed-in-rape-sex-trafficking-case (2021)
Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:
- “Regional News; I.F. Girl, 14, Held on Felony Count of Pimping,” Idaho Falls Post Register, February 19 1999.
- “Man Facing Kidnap Charges,” Idaho Falls Post Register, July 28 2004.
- “Criminals Using Internet to Lure Kids into Sex Trafficking,” Idaho Falls Post Register, March 21 2013.
- “Idaho Not Free from Human Trafficking,” Idaho State Journal, November 23 2014.
Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “Week in Review; S.D. Man Accused of Running Prostitution Ring,” Idaho Falls Post Register, February 13 2005.
- “Escort Service Creator Guilty,” Idaho Falls Post Register, May 5 2005.
- “SF Man Pleads Guilty in Escort Service Sting,” CBS/KELO-TV 11, May 6 2005.
- “Craigslist Ad Leads to Arrest,” Idaho Falls Post Register, June 20 2009.
- “Craigslist Ad Leads to Arrest for Prostitution,” Idaho State Journal, December 15 2009.
- “Montana Woman Arrested for Prostitution in Idaho Falls,” Idaho State Journal, March 23 2011.
- “Idaho Falls Woman Arrested for Prostitution,” Idaho State Journal, May 6 2011.
- “Looking Back; 100 Years Ago,” Idaho Falls Post Register, July 28 2011.
- “Idaho Falls Police Make Prostitution Arrest,” Idaho State Journal, April 22 2013.
- “Prosecutors Drop Prostitution Charge,” Idaho Falls Post Register, June 7 2013.
- “Looking Back; 100 Years Ago,” Idaho Falls Post Register, June 13 2013.
- “Police Say Too Much Sex for Sale in Eastern Idaho; Undercover Officers Found Prostitutes Online,” CBS/KIDK-TV 3, July 18 2013.
- “Two Arrested for Prostitution in Idaho Falls,” Idaho State Journal, July 22 2013.
- “Authorities Work to Deter Prostitution in East Idaho,” Idaho State Journal, July 26 2013.
- “A look at the sex trade in east Idaho from women who work it.” East Idaho News, March 22, 2018.