Napa County, CA

Tactics Used

Reverse stings
Shaming
Auto seizure
Community service
Public education
Neighborhood action
SOAP orders
John school
Letters
Cameras
Web stings
License suspension

Napa County is located north of San Pablo Bay in northern California. As of 2017 the population was about 141,000. The city of Napa is the largest municipality in the county. Prostitution and sex trafficking activity have been well-documented in the city of Napa and surrounding communities, and in unincorporated areas of Napa county.  This activity and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates results in complaints to law enforcement agencies from residents and businesses. Among the more serious crimes associated with the local commercial sex market is child sex trafficking. For example, in May 2011, two brothers were arrested on suspicion of pimping a juvenile girl, according to the Napa Police Department. They had been arrested during a probation search, and officers allegedly found text messages on his phone indicating the pimping of the underage girl, including times and costs for sexual acts, and nude pictures which he used to advertise to customers. The minor was allegedly advertised on a website.  The suspects were arrested on suspicion of prostitution, possession of child pornography, conspiracy and violation of probation, and both were booked into the Napa County jail.

In July  2017, a six-month investigation culminated in the arrest of a Napa man for pimping and pandering.  The suspects had contacted an undercover detective online, asking her to be a prostitute for them, telling the detective that he would come to Napa County to pick her up and take her to another location to work as a prostitute.  When he arrived at the agreed upon location in Napa, he was met by NSIB detectives and arrested. In August 2018, the NSIB conducted another prostitution sting, resulting in the arrest of a 22-year-old Napa woman whose 7-month-old child was taken into protective custody by Napa County Children’s Welfare Services. Detectives received information that a Napa woman was engaged in prostitution from her apartment on Solano Avenue, and NSIB detectives served a search warrant.  Detectives learned the young mother first trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation in Napa County at the age of 16, and was currently engaging in prostitution at home, sometimes while her infant was home with her.

Consumer level demand provides the revenue stream for all prostitution and sex trafficking, and has therefore been targeted by local law enforcement agencies as a strategy for prevention and response.  To identify and apprehend local sex buyers driving the prostitution and sex trafficking markets, police have conducted reverse stings and publicized the identities of the arrested sex buyers.In September 2018, the Napa Special Investigations Bureau (a unit within the Napa County Sheriff’s Office) conducted an undercover operation night that resulted in the arrest of a man who had been communicating on social media with agents, who were posing as a 17-year-old girl from Napa. Rather than just purchase sex, the suspect attempted to to get the girl to work for him in child sex trafficking.Detectives said the suspect was actively involved in pimping and possibly trafficking other victims of commercial sex trafficking, and NSIB’s investigation was continuing. The suspect was booked into the Napa County Department of Corrections on a $500,000 bail for suspicion of attempted human trafficking of and pimping and pandering a minor — all felonies.

 

Key Partners

  • Napa County Sheriff’s Office
    • Special Investigations Bureau
  • Napa Police Department

 

Key Sources

Web-Based Reverse Sting, Shaming:

Dear John Letters:

Background on Local Prostitution and Sex Trafficking:

 

State California
Type County
Population 140973
Location
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