Iowa City, IA

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

Iowa City is a city of about 76,000 residents located in Johnson County, in eastern Iowa. Prostitution and sex trafficking have been well documented problems in Iowa City. For example, in March, 2018, an Iowa City man was arrested and charged with human trafficking, pimping/sex trafficking, domestic abuse/assault impeding air/blood flow, false imprisonment, and pandering for prostitution. According to the arrest affidavit, officers were sent to a hotel after receiving reports of a 17-year-old girl being held against her will in a room. The sex trafficker met the 17-year-old through social media and had been sex trafficking her within local hotels, in addition to keeping the entirety of payments from sex buyers. In an attempt to escape prior to the arrival of officials, the offender responded by hitting the victim in the face and holding her neck to the ground. According to reports, the offender was also sex trafficking other girls, who had similarly been advertised online by the man. The identities, photos, ages, locations, and charges were included in reports from local news sources. Pimping and human trafficking are Class-C felonies; pandering for prostitution is a Class-D felony in Iowa. Iowa City police have also implemented tactics such as web-based reverse stings, that specifically focus on reducing the demand for commercial sex and sex trafficking.

Web-Based Reverse Stings:

In 2012, Iowa City police officers, in cooperation with other local law agencies such as the University of Iowa Police, Coralville Police, and Johnson County Sheriff’s Department conducted a two-day prostitution sting resulting in the arrest of 11 sex buyers. The sex buyers responded to decoy advertisement and upon meeting with undercover female officers, were arrested on charges of soliciting prostitution. According to the criminal complaint, after the offender had admitted to operating an online business generating thousands of dollars per week, was arrested on felony charges of pimping, pandering involving a minor (the offender’s 16-year-old sister), human trafficking, obstruction, and prostitution. The identities, photos, ages, locations, and charges were included in reports from local news sources. In April of 2016, the Iowa City Police and the Iowa Law Enforcement Intelligence Network (L.E.I.N) conducted a human trafficking/prostitution investigation in eastern Iowa that resulted in the arrest of 12 sex buyers. The sting operation was a collaboration between 40 law enforcement officers from multiple law enforcement agencies. All 12 offenders had responded to online advertisements posted by investigators and were arrested upon their arrival at an agreed location. The identities of the arrested offenders were included in news releases.

State Iowa
Type City
Population 75849
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