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Lake Havasu City is a city of approximately 55,000 residents, located in Mohave County, Arizona. Prostitution and sex trafficking activity have been well-documented in the city and surrounding communities, and in unincorporated areas of Mohave County. This activity and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates results in complaints to law enforcement agencies from residents and businesses. Among the more serious crimes associated with the local commercial sex market is sex trafficking. For example, in September 2018, agents from Homeland Security Investigations, working with special agents from the Lake Havasu City and Bullhead City police departments, made seven arrests during an investigation into human trafficking and forced labor in the area. All seven people taken into custody and were charged with various state offenses related to sex trafficking, money laundering, and facilitating prostitution. Other evidence of sex trafficking within the county in areas near Lake Havasu include a case in December, 2021, where six criminal search warrants were served at multiple Kingman-area businesses as the result of a four-month long investigation into allegations of prostitution at spas and massage businesses, as well as one private residence. Complaints of alleged prostitution occurring in the businesses prompted the investigation. Evidence was gathered that acts of prostitution were occurring at the businesses and additional search warrants were obtained. MAGNET detectives, along with detectives from the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office and the Kingman Police Department, served the warrants. During searches of the businesses and private residence, investigators located, identified and seized assorted evidence supporting the allegations, according to law enforcement. The case was submitted to the Mohave County Attorney’s Office for possible charges, and the businesses were also served with notification from the City of Kingman regarding its intent to revoke their business licenses.
To combat prostitution and sex trafficking in the area, local law enforcement agencies have targeted consumer-level demand for commercial sex, which provides the revenue stream driving all commercial sex and trafficking. On at least one occasion, local law enforcement have conducted a reverse sting. In late August 2016, officers with the Lake Havasu City Police Department conducted a two-day web sting targeting both sex buyers and those who are sexually exploited. Nine attempted buyers were arrested, as were three individuals for offering acts of prostitution. Following their arrests, all of the arrestees’ names and mugshots were publicized in press.
- Lake Havasu City Police Department
- Homeland Security Investigations
- Bullhead City Police Departments
Web-Based Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:
- “A Dozen Arrested in Recent Sting,” Havasu News, September 1 2016.
- “Fugitives from Oregon Nabbed in Havasu,” Havasu News, September 1 2016.
- “Havasu Police: Prostitution Sting Targeted Johns,” Havasu News, September 1 2016.
- “Havasu Man Arrested on Solicitation of Prostitution Charge,” Havasu News, September 4 2016.
- “Havasu Man Arrested on Solicitation of Prostitution, Drug Charges,” Havasu News, September 4 2016.
- “Telesis Official Arrested in Prostitution Dragnet; An Assistant Principal Charged with Soliciting a Prostitute on Friday,” Havasu News, September 5 2016.
- https://www.havasunews.com/news/havasu-police-arrest-in-prostitution-stings (2017)
- https://lhcaz.gov/news-and-updates/article/multiple-subjects-arrested-for-prostitution-and-soliciting-prostitution (2017)
Background on Prostitution and Sex Trafficking in the Area:
- http://tucson.com/lake-havasu-man-arrested-in-immigrant-prostitution-case (2005)
- “Multiple Arrests for Prostitution Related Charges,” Havasu News, March 7 2014.
- “Lake Havasu City Police Arrest 3 Women in Prostitution Sting,” Havasu News, March 9 2015.
- “Yucca Woman Faces Prostitution Charges,” Havasu News, April 19 2016.
- “Havasu Woman Nabbed after Escort Ads,” Havasu News, April 20 2016.
- “Prostitutes Busted in LHC in Undercover Operation,” Havasu News, July 6 2016.
- https://www.havasunews.com/ice-sex-trafficking-sting-leads-to-arrests/ (2018)
- https://www.havasunews.com/ice-havasu-sex-trafficking-bust-started-with-citizen-complaints (2018)
- http://www.mohavedailynews.com/ice-raid-results-in-arrests (2018)
- https://en.brinkwire.com/8-arrested-in-sex-trafficking-prostitution-investigation-in-western-arizona/ (2018)
- https://www.azcentral.com/8-arrested-sex-trafficking-investigation-western-arizona-lake-havasu-bullhead-city (2018)
- https://kdminer.com/nine-arrested-county-wide-minor-sexual-exploitation (2019)
- https://archives.stgeorgeutah.com/man-who-drove-wife-to-work-at-arizona-massage-parlor (2019)
- https://frontpageconfidential.com/homeland-security-lake-havasu-human-trafficking-stings/ (2019)
- https://news3lv.com/police-3-arrested-in-luring-sting-operation-in-mohave-co (2020)
- https://news3lv.com/33-arrested-in-mohave-county-accused-of-luring-children-for-sex (2021)
- https://kdminer.com/mohave-911-3-kingman-men-arrested-sexual-exploitation (2021)
- https://kdminer.com/news/2021/dec/08/allegations-prostitution-have-resulted-6-criminal-/ (2021)