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Linn County has approximately 226,000 residents, and is located in eastern Iowa. Cedar Rapids is the county’s seat and largest city. Prostitution activity has been well-documented in the city and surrounding communities, and in other areas of the 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, including cases of interstate transport of teen victims for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation.
Consumer level demand provides the revenue stream for all prostitution and sex trafficking, and has therefore been targeted by local law enforcement agencies as a strategy for prevention and response. For example, in June 2012, deputies from the Linn County Sheriff’s Office conducted a large-scale web sting targeting sex buyers. Officers placed decoy listings that advertised commercial sex on websites known for prostitution activity. As men responded to the listings, an undercover officer arranged to meet them at hotels in the cities of Marion and Cedar Rapids, as well as other undisclosed towns in the county (the operations in Marion and Cedar Rapids are addressed in the Demand Forum web pages for those cities). When the men arrived and attempted to purchase sex, they were arrested by a backup team. All of the sex buyers arrested had their names, ages, and hometowns publicized in local media outlets.
This page for Linn County is devoted to countywide operations, or those covering unincorporated areas of the county. See Marion and Cedar Rapids for additional information on anti-prostitution efforts in those Linn County cities.
Web-Based Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:
- “More Than 30 Charged in Linn County Prostitution Sting”, Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier, June 23 2012.
Background on Local Prostitution and Sex Trafficking: