Lynwood is among the less affluent communities in the Los Angeles area, and has had longstanding and well-known problems with crime, including street prostitution – particularly along Long Beach Boulevard. Sex trafficking of high school girls has also been documented in the city, as well as assaults against prostituted women and girls. To combat consumer-level demand that drives both prostitution markets and sex trafficking, police have conducted reverse stings in Lynwood since at least 1991. Some of the operations are large-scale and result in many arrests; for example, one operation led to the arrest of 43 sex buyers – in a community of only 70,000 residents.
In May 2014, police conducted foot patrols along the streets of Lynwood as part of the Prostitution and John Abatement Foot Beat launched by the Sheriff’s Department’s Major Crimes Bureau. The purpose was to reduce or eliminate prostitution along the boulevard between Lynwood and Compton. Officers from the Century, Compton and East Los Angeles sheriff’s stations along with reserve deputies took part in the program. Personnel from the county Probation and Children and Family Services departments also were part of the task force along with city employees from the business license, parking and code enforcement divisions. The activity took place between Tucker Street in Compton and the Glenn Anderson (105) Freeway in Lynwood. Police said the john patrols have been done in Compton, but never before in Lynwood. The operation resulted in 20 arrests, including prostitution, drug offenses, and outstanding warrants. Two 18-year-old males were arrested for the sex trafficking of a juvenile. About 40 sheriff’s personnel patroled Long Beach Boulevard May 15 from 3 to 7 p.m.
The Major Crimes Bureau has been conducting task forces like this in other cities, including Compton. For example, in June 2019, eighteen men and four women were arrested during an operation by a human trafficking task force in Compton and Lynwood. All the men arrested allegedly solicited undercover sheriff’s deputies for various sex acts, according to a Deputy from the Sheriff’s Information Bureau. The men were booked at the Inmate Reception Center. The operation by the Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Task Force included personnel from the FBI, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, the Department of Children and Family Services, Probation Department, Los Angeles Unified School Police, Homeland Security Investigations, Saving Innocence, Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking and state parole agents.
- Lynwood Police Department
- Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Task Force
- Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office
- Los Angeles Unified School Police
- Homeland Security Investigations
- California State Parole
- Reverse Stings:
- “Digest: Prostitution Sting Nets 50 in Lynwood”, Long Beach Press-Telegram, July 29 1991.
- “Prostitution Sting in the City of Lynwood”, Press Release, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, September 29 2011.
- https://mynewsla.com/crime/2019/06/21/human-trafficking-enforcement-operation-in-results-in-22-arrests/ (2019)
- Police Foot Patrols to Deter Johns:
- Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:
- “Girls Recruited from Schools for Prostitution, Officials Allege”, Los Angeles Times, August 10 2012.
- “Man Admits Forcing Teen Girls from Inland Empire into Prostitution”, Los Angeles Times, January 15 2014.
- “RIVERSIDE: Pimp Pleads Guilty in Sex-Trafficking Ring”, Riverside Press-Enterprise, January 15 2014.
- “Ringleader Sentenced for Luring Teen Girls into Prostitution”, Los Angeles Times, April 2 2014.
- Background on Prostitution in the Area: