|IT Based Tactics||✓|
Midwest City is a city of approximately 58,000 residents, located in the greater Oklahoma City Metropolitan Area. Community residents have reported problems with prostitution in the city, with activities concentrated in and around the city’s massage parlors, and there are documented cases of local murders of sex trafficking victims and prostituted persons as well. Through 2010, local law enforcement had also noted an increase in advertisements offering sexual services on websites like Craigslist and Backpage.com. Illustrating these problems is an unsolved case of a sex trafficked teen found murdered in a lake in Midwest City. In another case, a pimp lured a 16-year-old Midwest City girl into prostitution and trafficked her in at least four states.
To address the numerous problems associated with prostitution, the Midwest City Police Department, in collaboration with the Oklahoma City Police Department’s Vice Squad, conducted a web sting in September 2010. Police placed a decoy advertisement to Backpage; as sex buyers responded to the listing, they unwittingly arranged to meet with an undercover female officer. When the men attempted to offer the woman money in exchange for sex, they were apprehended by police. A total of 3 sex buyers were arrested– all had their names and other identifying information released to the public.
Oklahoma law prohibits people from engaging in prostitution under 21 O.S. 1029, which addresses both prostitution and solicitation of prostitution in the same manner under the same statute. Both prostitution and solicitation are misdemeanors. The penalties for prostitution and solicitation include a jail term of 30 days to one year and a fine of up to $2,500 on the first offense. The fines increase with subsequent convictions, and the court may also mandate 40 to 80 hours of community service.
- Midwest City Police Department
- Oklahoma City Police Department’s Vice Squad
Web-Based Reverse Stings:
- http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/article.aspx (2010)
- http://midwestcity.kfor.com/content/police-use-web-site-catch-escorts-buyers (2010)
Background on Prostitution and Sex Trafficking in the Area: