Jefferson County, CO

Tactics Used

Reverse stings
Auto seizure
Community service
Public education
Neighborhood action
SOAP orders
John school
Web stings
License suspension

Jefferson County, Colorado, has a population of approximately 575,000, making it the fourth-most populous county in Colorado. The county seat is Golden, and the most populous city is Lakewood.  It is located just southeast of Denver.   Prostitution and child sex trafficking have a well-documented presence in the county, and produce numerous additional problems. To combat consumer-level demand for commercial sex, county law enforcement has teams with municipal, state, and federal agencies to conduct reverse stings. For example, in May 2012, a large-scale prostitution sweep in the Denver metro area confirmed the presence of sex trafficking and child prostitution networks in Lakewood; in September 2015, one of the ring’s procurers was convicted of “eight felony counts including pandering of a child, pimping of a child, keeping a place of child prostitution and soliciting for child prostitution,” and sentenced to up to 120 years in prison. In a separate incident, a traffic stop in February 2014 uncovered a case involving three adults who trafficked a 15-year-old girl in Lakewood for commercial sex. In the 1980s, prostituted women were found murdered in the city, several of which are believed to be the victims of a prolific serial killer who specifically targeted prostituted persons in the greater Denver area.

To combat consumer-level demand for commercial sex, the Lakewood Police Department began conducting street-level reverse stings since at least 1990. It has since incorporated the use of web-based reverse stings as well. Once apprehended, johns may have their names and other identifying information released to the media. Web-based reversals have also occurred in the County.  For exampl, in February, 2014, it was announced that five men and one woman have been arrested as part of a child human trafficking ring operating in Jefferson County. The arrests for commercial sexual exploitation of children were the result of a joint operation of the FBI’s Innocence Lost Task Force, Lakewood Police Department, and the District Attorney’s Office. The investigation began in November 2012 when one of the victims reported to a counselor that she had been sexually assaulted by the alleged ringleader of the child prostitution ring. There were three female victims identified in this operation; one was 13 and two were 16 years old, and each had run away from home and were truant from school and each had been lured into the prostitution net by drugs. Through the course of the investigation, a complex, multi-layer operation was uncovered in which young girls were given methamphetamine and forced to have sex with members of the ring, their associates, or strangers in exchange for money or drugs allegedly paid to the ringleader or other members of the prostitution ring.

John School:

In 2014 a john school program was launched in Lakewood by Better Communities Colorado LLC. The Colorado John School Program’s mission is to reduce the demand for commercial sex in the Denver Metropolitan area by educating offenders about the negative consequences of prostitution and increasing their awareness of health risks, prostitution laws and healthy relationships.  It consists of an intake session and a one-day class, and classes are scheduled four times per year. The fee is $400.00 and it must be paid in full at the intake session.  The intake session consists of an intake questionnaire and meeting with a counselor. The purpose of this is to identify risk factors that may contribute to the participant’s risky sexual behaviors and to provided needed community resources. The intake session must be completed before attending the class.

​The class is held on Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. four times per year.  The class is structured to educate participants on a variety of topics related to prostitution. Participants receive information on the many aspects of the system of prostitution and its negative consequences. Participants also learn about making positive changes in their intimate relationships and sexual practices. The intended result is an increased awareness and sensitivity to the overall impact that prostitution has on individuals, families, and the community at large. Classes are conducted in English and Spanish. Speakers of other languages must bring a translator to both the intake session and the class. The John School curriculum currently features six primary content areas:
  • Community impact
  • Reasons men buy sex and risks they face
  • Effects of prostitution on prostituted women
  • STD’s and safer sex
  • Legal consequences and dynamics of pimping and recruiting
  • Healthy relationships

Key Partners

Key Sources

Street-Level Reverse Stings:

Web-Based Reverse Stings:

John School:

Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

  • “Licensing May Help Lakewood Escort Hookers to Jail”, Denver Post, February 8 2009.

Documented Violence Against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:

State Colorado
Type County
Population 574613
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