Medford, OR

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

Medford is a city in Southwestern Oregon. It is the largest city and county seat of Jackson County, OR, with roughly 86,000 residents. The Medford metropolitan area is also the 4th largest metropolitan area in Oregon. Medford has had well-documented prostitution and sex trafficking activity. For example, in November 2013, a sex trafficking investigation resulted in two arrests. Multiple female victims stated they were transported to Oregon, held against their will, and sex trafficked by two Medford residents, according to the Medford Police Department. In May 2019, a missing California teenager was reunited with her family after police say a man and woman transported her to Medford, provided her with drugs, and sex trafficked her. The pair were arrested on sex trafficking charges. Medford police said they acted together to transport the 15-year-old runaway from California to Oregon. The child had been missing from her Modesto home for a month. In May 2019, officers responded to a tip from the child’s parent and eventually found the missing girl in a hotel room, along with the two traffickers and another teenage girl.

To combat consumer-level demand for commercial sex, which drives all prostitution and sex trafficking, Medford police began conducting web-based reverse stings in 2005. During a 2007 sting, Medford police targeted male sex buyers by posting a decoy ad on The investigation resulted in the arrest of three male sex buyers for solicitation of prostitution. In June 2017, Medford police conducted a web-based reverse sting operation that resulted in the arrest of 11 men on charges of soliciting prostitution, two men on charges of promoting prostitution, and seven women on charges of prostitution. According to reports, police posted decoy ads on websites known for prostitution and sex trafficking, in addition to responding to ads posted by others on the same platforms, targeting both sex buyers and prostituted persons. The offenders were arrested and charged by undercover officers upon arrival at Medford hotels.

“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 put space between the men’s appointments as they arrived, expecting to meet prostituted women, 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 sex trafficking and is now an expert on the issue. The Redemption Ridge organization advocates for and assists victim-survivors of sex trafficking.

In addition, to reverse sting operations, police have apprehended sex buyers through alternative investigations and residential reports to local law enforcement. For example, in February 2020, a reported disturbance resulted in the arrest of a 28-year-old man for promoting prostitution. According to reports, police had initially been responding to a reported disturbance on Morrill Road in Medford involving a 28-year-old man and a 20-year-old woman. Officers suspected prostitution was involved but could not prove it during the initial response. Officers scanned websites known for prostitution and sex trafficking and found an ad for the woman on Police conducted a web-based reverse sting operation in which an undercover police officer posed as a potential sex buyer to meet with the woman, who was brought to the predetermined location by the male suspect. Upon their arrival at the predetermined location, police arrested the man for promoting prostitution and began working with the woman by providing her with victim-centered resources for survivors of sex trafficking.

In December 2021, an inter-agency task force “uncovered evidence of human trafficking and alleged prostitution at a Medford massage parlor” following a year-long investigation. Authorities believe interstate and international human trafficking occurs in Medford due to its proximity to the Canadian and Mexican borders and being situated near an international airport and the interstate highway.

Key Sources

National Assessment Survey (2012)

Web-Based Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:

Sex Buyer Arrests, Identity Disclosure:

Background on Sex Trafficking and Prostitution in the Area:

State Oregon
Type City
Population 85824
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