Marion, IA

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

Marion is a city of approximately 42,000 residents, located northeast of Cedar Rapids in Linn County, Iowa. Prostitution activity has been well-documented in the city, surrounding communities, and in other areas of the county. This activity, and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates result 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.

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. To combat demand the Marion Police Department conducted at least two web stings targeting sex buyers. The first operation, undertaken in late 2011 in collaboration with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, netted nine sex buyers. In June 2012, MPD officers coordinated efforts with the Linn County Sheriff’s Office and a number of neighboring PDs to conduct a large-scale, countywide web sting resulting in the arrest of 37 local men. In both instances, law enforcement posted decoy listings of a “sexually suggestive nature” to an undisclosed website known for prostitution activity. As men responded to the listings, an undercover female officer arranged to meet them at a local hotel. When they arrived and attempted to purchase sex from the officer, they were arrested by a backup team. All arrestees’ names and other identifying information were released to the media.

Key Sources

Web Stings:

Background on Prostitution and Sex Trafficking in the Area:

State Iowa
Type City
Population 41535
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