Moreno Valley, CA

Tactics Used

Auto Seizure
Buyer Arrests
Cameras
Community Service
Employment Loss
Identity Disclosure
IT Based Tactics
John School
Letters
License Suspension
Neighborhood Action
Public Education
Reverse Stings
SOAP Orders
Web Stings

Moreno Valley is a city of approximately 194,000 residents, located near Redlands and Rubidoux in Riverside County, California. Not formally incorporated until 1984, the city has quickly become one of the largest population centers in the area. It is currently the second largest city in the county, second only to neighboring Riverside.  Prostitution and sex trafficking in the city are well documented, as are assaults against prostituted women and girls.

In recent years, city and county law enforcement have reported an increase in community complaints about commercial sex sales in Moreno Valley, and have conducted several high-profile investigations into businesses suspected to be fronts for prostitution. In their efforts, female officers from the Moreno Valley Police Department’s Problem Oriented Policing Team have at times gone undercover as prostituted women looking for “work” at the alleged brothels. If the female officer could confirm that illegal sex sales were taking place on the premises, a backup team swept the building and arrested the business owners and prostituted women present.

After two such “jane sweeps,” the MVPD opted to replace the women with police decoys to arrest local johns. In September 2009, police used existing businesses’ ads, telephones and computers  to arrange appointments with the men who contacted them. Fifteen sex buyers were apprehended as a result. In September 2012, six johns were similarly arrested after attempting to solicit an undercover female officer at a brothel broken up by police earlier in the day. The men’s names were not released to the public.  In April 2013, a joint “jane” and “john” sting resulted in the arrest of eight sex buyers, whose names, ages, and hometowns were released to news outlets.  In October 2013, 19 men were arrested at a Moreno Valley motel pursuant to an investigation of a prostitution ring.  In December 2013, 21 men were arrested for solicitation during a reverse sting.  Of these men, three were charged with felony solicitation and drug offenses, and another 21 charged with misdemeanor prostitution.  The Moreno Valley Police Department reported they conducted the operation in response to community complaints.  In March 2014, a reverse sting resulted in the arrest of 27 sex buyers, plus additional arrests for drug and weapons offenses, and parole violations.  In June 2014, a reversal resulted in the arrest of 25 men, two of whom were wanted on felony warrants for other crimes.

Notably, sex trafficking has also emerged a growing problem in the Moreno Valley. In March 2013, a former school board member was sentenced to 15 years in prison for pimping young women and girls in the city. That same month, in a separate incident, an 18-year-old woman was charged with the trafficking and prostitution of a 14-year-old girl after law enforcement saw photos of the minor on Backpage.com. The victim was recovered at a local motel. In August 2013, a young female was recovered after being abducted by five men in nearby Compton and brought to a Moreno Valley motel where she was sexually assaulted and told by her abductors that they planned to force her to conduct prostitution for money. The 18-year-old was able to escape and alert authorities when the men “became distracted before the alleged prostitution could take place.”

Key Sources

 

State California
Type City
Population 190871
Location
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