Lynnwood, WA

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

Lynnwood is a city in Washington state and has a population of roughly 41,000 residents, located in Snohomish County, WA. Prostitution and sex trafficking have been well-documented in the city and surrounding areas for decades. Among the more serious crimes associated with the local commercial sex market is child sex trafficking.

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 effort to reduce demand for commercial sex in the area, the Lynnwood Police Department has been conducting reverse stings since 1995, if not earlier. During these operations, officials are also permitted to seize the vehicles of arrested sex buyers if the vehicle was used while the crime was being committed. As a result of these operations, police frequently release the names of arrested sex buyers to local media outlets. In addition, police have been known to issue SOAP (stay out of areas of prostitution) Orders, barring convicted sex buyers from entering areas with high rates of prostitution activity. For example, in 2005, police conducted a three-hour street-level reverse sting along Highway 99 in Lynnwood, that resulted in the arrest of 11 male sex buyers. The men were lining up two or three vehicles at a time attempting to solicit undercover female officers for sex, according to an officer with the Lynnwood special operations unit. At least one man pulled up in a work vehicle. The men were arrested for investigation of patronizing a prostitute or loitering for the purposes of prostitution and booked into the Lynnwood jail. The arrested sex buyers potentially faced up to a year in jail and a $500 fine.

According to the National Assessment Survey in 2012, Lynnwood police officers reported having conducted both street-level and web-based reverse sting operations, implemented vehicle seizures, SOAP Orders, and have publicly disclosed the identities of arrested sex buyers. In addition, officials reported that demand reduction education has employed in the city’s communities.

Key Sources

National Assessment Survey (2012)

Street-Level Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

State Washington
Type City
Population 40592
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