Kern County, CA

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

Kern County is an area with approximately 918,000 residents, located in California’s Central Valley.  Bakersfield is the county’s seat and largest city. Many crimes and serious problems have been linked to prostitution in the county. For example, a relatively routine prostitution case in 2009 involved a Rio Norte Junior High School teaching assistant and her daughter being arrested on suspicion of soliciting prostitution through an Internet advertisement. Kern County sheriff’s vice unit detectives began investigating the women after being notified of the online ads.  The women, aged 56 and 31, were arrested after they removed all of their clothes for an undercover deputy who responded to their ad. The ads on and showed photos of two partially clothed women – one younger and one older – offering a one-hour massage for $250 and a $60 bonus option promising a “Sensual Massage by Mother/Daughter Duo – $250/hr.”  Each woman faced misdemeanor charges for solicitation of prostitution and for managing a massage parlor without a license. Kern County Sheriff’s officials continued their ongoing sting operations at illicit massage parlors, in collaboration with the Kern County Public Health Services Department.  In March 2018, they announced their third undercover sting operation conducted jointly by Public Health and KCSO, which included the arrest of women cited on suspicion of solicitation of prostitution at a massage business on Merle Haggard Drive, and at another on Wible Road, and the closure of both businesses. Among the more serious crimes associated with the local commercial sex market is sex trafficking. Prostitution related violence – including homicide – has also occurred within the county.

In an effort to identify and apprehend sex buyers, the Kern County Sheriff’s Office has collaborated with the Bakersfield Police Department to conduct several street-level reverse stings using undercover female officers as decoys to arrest sex buyers. Since 2008, the Kern County Sheriff’s Department has also used web reverse stings to apprehend offenders soliciting sex online.

Key Sources

Street-Level Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

Web-Based Reverse Stings:

Background on Local Prostitution and Sex Trafficking:

Local Prostitution-Related Violence:

State California
Type County
Population 917673
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