Marion is a city of approximately 27,000 residents, located northeast of Cedar Rapids in Linn County, Iowa. Prostitution and sex trafficking of teens are well-established problems in the city. To reduce prostitution activity, the Marion Police Department has 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 9 johns. 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.
- Web Stings:
- “Pastor, Eight Others Arrested in Prostitution Sting”, ABC/KCRG-TV 9, October 17 2011.
- “Church Members Want Pastor Caught in Prostitution Sting Back”, ABC/KCRG-TV 9, October 25 2011.
- “More Stings to Follow Marion Prostitution Arrests?”, Marion Patch, November 1 2011.
- “Sheriff: Linn Prostitution Arrests Began with Earlier Sting in Coralville”, Cedar Rapids Gazette, June 22 2012.
- “Marion Hotel Part of Prostitution Sting That Leads to 30-Plus Arrests”, Marion Patch, June 23 2012.
- “Did Marion Police Use Craigslist to Uncover Sex Trafficking”, Marion Patch, June 25 2012.
- “‘Johns’ Arrested After Taking Kids to Visits with Prostitutes, Police Say”, Marion Patch, June 29 2012.
- “Four Involved in Marion, Cedar Rapids Prostitution Sting Plead Guilty”, Marion Patch, September 20 2012.
- “Man Arrested for Trying to Trade Sex for Boat Trailer”, Radio Iowa, March 11 2014.
- Background on Prostitution and Sex Trafficking in the Area:
- “3 Netted in Marion Prostitution Sting”, Cedar Rapids Gazette, November 14 1992.
- “2 Arrested in Marion During Prostitution Sting”, Cedar Rapids Gazette, November 12 1993.
- “4 Arrested for Prostitution at Marion Massage Parlors”, Marion Patch, October 20 2012.
- “Marion to Discuss Revoking License of Massage Parlor After Prostitution Arrests”, Marion Patch, October 27 2012.
- “Human Trafficking Investigation Follows Marion Massage Parlor Prostitution Arrests– Rewind”, Marion Patch, November 4 2012.