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Lowell is a city of approximately 9,400 residents, located near Bentonville in Benton County in northwest Arkansas. Prostitution is well-documented locally, and at least one case of teen sex trafficking has occurred. In November, 2021, trucking industry executives and staff held an event to raise awareness of human trafficking. Staff of Lowell-based carrier J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. and nonprofit Truckers Against Trafficking discussed trafficking, its warning signs and how to help victims. The Business Integrity Leadership Initiative of the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas hosted the event. The executive chair of the Business Integrity Leadership Initiative, said more than 900 people registered for the in-person and virtual event.
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. In addition to traditional stings targeting the providers of commercial sex, the Lowell Police Department and Benton County Sheriff’s Office have conducted at least one web-based reverse sting to identify and apprehend sex buyers. Upon arrest, some of the sex buyers have had their names and other identifying information publicly released.
- Lowell Police Department
- Benton County Sheriff’s Office
Web-Based Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:
- “Sting Results in 12 Arrests; Lowell Police, BCSO Targeted Hotels in Prostitution Arrests”, Benton County Daily Record, June 1 2009.
- “14 Prostitution-Related Arrests Made”, Springdale Morning News, June 1 2009.
Background on Prostitution, Sex Trafficking, Related Crimes in the Area:
- “Five Women Arrested in Prostitution Sting”, Springdale Morning News, March 20 2008.
- “Lowell Police Arrest 5 in Prostitution Sting”, Benton County Daily Record, March 21 2008.
- “BCSO Arrests Teen Prostitute”, Benton County Daily Record, July 9 2008.
- “Second Prostitution Sting Nabs Six in Lowell”, Springdale Morning News, September 26 2008.
- “2nd Prostitution Sting Nets 6 Arrests in Lowell”, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, September 27 2008.
- “Police Bust Prostitutes with Help of Web Site”, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, November 17 2008.
- https://www.nwaonline.com/news/2016/jun/25/documents-detail-prostitution-ring-in-s/ (2016)
- https://www.co.potter.tx.us/upload/page/docs/Warrants.pdf (2019)
- https://www.nwaonline.com/news/2021/aug/01/fbi-task-force-targets-child-sex-crimes-in-nwa/ (2021)
- https://talkbusiness.net/U-of-arkansas-event-human-trafficking-in-transportation-industry/ (2021)
- https://truckersagainsttrafficking.org/Newsletter-June-2022.pdf (2022)