Idaho Falls, ID

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

Idaho Falls is a city of approximately 62,000 residents in southeastern Idaho, located in Bonneville County. It’s located along an interstate highway, which police say contributes to prostitution and sex trafficking occurring in local hotels. Prostitution often generates additional problems and crimes in the community. For example, a man was sentenced to prison for mugging a sex buyer in January 2021. There’s evidence that the sex buyer was chosen as a target because it was assumed he was unlikely to call the police since he was searching for a prostituted person.

In an effort to reduce demand for commercial sex in the city, police have conducted reverse sting operations that arrest local sex buyers. For example, in a 2011 web-based reverse sting, the Idaho Falls Police Department arrested four male sex buyers at a hotel. The operation was somewhat different than a standard web-based reverse sting — in this instance, two prostituted women who were arrested agreed to cooperate with police and help conduct the reverse sting by continuing to run their online advertisements. Potential male sex buyers who contacted the women for commercial sex were asked to meet at a hotel, where they were arrested.

Some arrests of sex buyers in Idaho Falls have been the product of allegations against specific individuals, rather than reverse stings using police decoys. For example, a registered sex offender was arrested in May 2017 after paying for a sexual encounter with a teenage girl. In October 2019 a man was arrested for soliciting a 16-year-old boy on Craigslist, and yet another was arrested in 2020 after offering a 14-year-old girl a vape device in exchange for sex and then proceeding to sexually assault her.

In a more complicated example, an Idaho Falls man was arrested in May 2021 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. Another girl who met with the man was told she could keep 10 percent of any money they made from soliciting commercial 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 material, 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).

Key Sources

Web-Based Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

Sex Buyer Arrest, Identity Disclosure:

Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

State Idaho
Type City
Population 62417
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