Lakewood, WA

Tactics Used

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

Lakewood is a city in the Puget Sound region of Washington with a population of about 57,000.  Prostitution and sex trafficking markets have a documented presence in the city, and produce a number of additional problems, such as attempted homicide and assault.  For example, in 2013 two men negotiated with a pimp to “hire” two prostituted women.  The pimp shot one of the men in the head for refusing to pay her after the deal fell apart.  The pimp was charged with first-degree attempted murder, second-degree assault, first-degree attempted robbery and second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm.  The 65-year-old victim survived.

In an effort to reduce the demand for commercial sex, police conduct street-level reverse stings. The city is also able to issue SOAP (or “Stay Out of Areas with Prostitution”) orders, barring arrested johns from entering areas in the city known for commercial sex for a specified period of time.

The city offers a john school program where men arrested for solicitation receive STD tests and learn that many of the women who engage in prostitution are not doing so by choice. There are various presenters for this program including formerly prostituted women and neighborhood residents who would like prostitution to end in their communities because of a wide range of negative effects it produces.  The john school is a collaborative effort that also serves the cities of Tacoma and Fife, as well as Pierce County.  More information about the john school is provided on the DemandForum page for Tacoma.

Key Sources

State Washington
Type City
Population 57231
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