Medford is a city in Jackson County, Oregon with a population of roughly 72,000, making the Medford metropolitan area the 4th largest in Oregon. Medford has had well-documented prostitution and sex trafficking activity. For example, in November 2013, a human trafficking investigation resulted in two arrests. Multiple female victims stated they were brought to Oregon, held against their will and forced into prostitution by two Medford residents, according to the Medford Police Department.
In order to combat consumer-leel demand for commercial sex, Medford police began conducting web-based reverse stings in 2005. During a 2007 sting, Medford police targeted johns with a decoy Craigslist escort service ad. The sting resulted in three arrests for solicitation of prostitution. In June, 2017, Medford police arrested 11 men who allegedly sought sex from prostitutes, two men accused of promoting prostitution and seven women during an undercover sex-trafficking sting. Police posted online ads on known sex-trafficking websites and apps, and also responded to ads posted by others on the same platforms. The men were arrested as they arrived at Medford hotels, which cooperated with police during the operations in late May, 2017.
“We couldn’t believe how eager they were to engage in this activity,” said an MPD Detective. “From the minute we posted the ads to when we did the operation, our phone was ringing off the hook. It was rather a busy, somewhat chaotic event. We were flooded with phone calls and texts.”
Police tried to space out the men’s appointments as they arrived with the expectation of meeting prostitutes, but some had to be detained quietly in other rooms as other men kept arriving. The 11 men who responded to the prostitution ads were given citations for the misdemeanor crime of patronizing a prostitute. The females are believed to be involved in organized sex trafficking from out of the area. Medford police consulted with Rebecca Bender and Redemption Ridge while planning the operation. Bender is a survivor of human trafficking and has become an expert on the issue. The Redemption Ridge organization advocates for and assists victims of sex trafficking.
- Medford Police Department
- National Assessment Survey
- Web-Based Reverse Stings:
- Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:
- “Police Seek Suspect in Forced Rape Case,” Ashland Daily Tidings, August 14 2009.
- “Medford Man Heads to Prison for Forcing Prostitution on Girl,” Medford Mail-Tribune, February 10 2010.
- “Man Admits Trafficking in Sex with Minor Girls,” Eugene Register-Guard, April 10 2014.
- Background on Sex Trafficking and Prostitution in the Area:
- “Two Arrested in Alleged Prostitution Case,” Medford Mail-Tribune, November 26 2013.
- “Medford Man Gets Prison Time for Promoting Prostitution,” Medford Mail-Tribune, March 14 2014.
- “Backpage.com Sting Nets Grants Pass Woman on Prostitution Charges,” Medford Mail-Tribune, December 19 2014.
- “Alleged Prostitute Accused of Extortion,” Medford Mail-Tribune, February 2 2015.
- https://www.oregonlive.com/southern_oregon_man_accused_of_5.html (2018)
- https://mailtribune.com/pair-charged-with-trafficking-15-year-old-in-medford (2019)