Kotzebue, AK

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

Kotzebue is a city in the Northwest Arctic Borough of Alaska. It is the borough’s seat and the economic and transportation hub for the region’s small villages. The city has roughly 3,200 residents. Kotzebue is located 30 miles north of the Arctic Circle and is only accessible by airplane, and by boat in the summer. Despite its small size, instances of prostitution and sex trafficking have been reported in the city. At least one case of child sex trafficking has been reported and other cases have occurred in the Western Alaska region.

Among the tactics used to address such a problem are those targeting consumers of commercial sex, including the arrest and identity disclosure of sex buyers. In November 2021, the FBI received a tip alleging a minor had been sexually abused by a Kotzebue man 15 times over the course of three years, with the first instance occurring when the victim was just 10 years old. This abuse happened in the perpetrator’s home, vehicle, and on one occasion on a boat where the victim tried to escape at least five times. He allegedly gave the minor money after each instance of sexual abuse and alcohol and marijuana before and/or after each incident. The man was indicted by a federal grand jury for sex trafficking of a minor. In July 2021, he pleaded guilty to one count of human trafficking and in December 2021, the offender was sentenced to 20 years in prison followed by five years of supervised release for charges relating to the repeated sexual abuse of a minor. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Anchorage Police Department (APD) Task Force Officers investigated this case as part of the FBI’s Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force, with assistance from the Alaska State Troopers (AST) and Kotzebue Police Department (KPD).

Key Sources

Sex Buyer Arrest, Identity Disclosure:

Background on Local Prostitution and Sex Trafficking:

Background on Sex Trafficking and Prostitution in Alaska:

Local Prostitution Ordinance:

State Alaska
Type City
Population 3287
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