Kern County is an area with approximately 840,000 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, including sex trafficking and the homicide of prostituted women. 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 Craigslist.com and Backpage.com 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 Golden Massage on 35315 Merle Haggard Drive, and at Bella Sol Salon Massage on 1002 Wible Road, and the closure of both businesses.
- Street-Level Reverse Stings and Shaming:
- “11 Men Arrested during ‘John Sting” on Union Avenue”, Bakersfield Californian, April 21 2004.
- “14 Arrested for Allegedly Seeking Sex in ‘John Sting’”, Bakersfield Californian, August 21 2005.
- “Undercover Sting Operation Leads to Arrest of 25 People”, Bakersfield Californian, July 23 2006.
- “Police Officers Pose as Prostitutes in Sting”, ABC/KERO-TV 23, September 17 2007.
- “9 Arrested in Prostitution Sting”, ABC/KERO-TV 23, August 16 2011.
- “ABC Arrests 15 People on Prostitution Charges”, ABC/KERO-TV 23, May 10 2012.
- “Prostitution Sting Nets 15 Arrests”, Bakersfield Californian, May 10 2012.
- “22 Arrested in Operation ‘John Sting’, Including 2 Juveniles”, ABC/KERO-TV 23, November 3 2012.
- “22 Arrested for Prostitution Soliciting during Sting in Bakersfield”, ABC/KERO-TV 23, December 21 2012.
- “17 Arrested for Prostitution in Bakersfield”, ABC/KERO-TV 23, January 19 2013.
- “22 Suspects Arrested in Bakersfield Prostitution Sting”, ABC/KERO-TV 23, April 29 2013.
- “BPD Getting Tough on Prostitution”, CBS/KBAK-TV 29, March 22 2014.
- Background on Local Prostitution and Sex Trafficking:
- http://bakersfieldnow.com/news/local/kern-county-prison-warden-arrested-in-stockton-prostitution-sting (2018)
- http://www.bakersfield.com/news/breaking/two-women-cited-in-massage-parlor-sting-on-suspicion (2018)
- https://www.kget.com/news/local-news/kern-coalition-against-human-trafficking-to-host-discussion/ (2021)
- Prostitution-related violence: