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Oklahoma City is located in central Oklahoma and has a population of approximately 650,000 residents. Prostitution has been a well-documented problem in Oklahoma City dating back at least to the 1970s, and sex trafficking cases have occurred since at least the 1980s and continue through the present. Some cases of local sex trade activity have involved involved child sexual abuse materials (CSAM, often called “child pornography” in state criminal laws). For example, in September 2022, an Oklahoma City man was arrested on prior sex trafficking charges faced an additional set of charges including nine counts of procuring or manufacturing “child pornography,” and one count of possession of “child pornography.” According to court documents, investigators say it started when they began looking into a robbery involving a prostituted person at a motel in October of 2021. During that investigation, detectives learned that the man allegedly organized acts of prostitution for the underage female (and therefore, sex trafficking of minors). At that point, he was arrested for human trafficking, burglary, and aiding in prostitution. According to the documents, he admitted that he knew the girl’s age and was aware that she was a juvenile. During his arrest, his cell phone was taken, and a forensic analysis revealed 12 pornographic videos and images of the underaged victim. Violence among people involved in prostitution is also well-documented locally, including the homicide of (and committed by) prostituted women.
Oklahoma City has employed a wide range of tactics to combat the demand for commercial sex, which drives all prostitution and sex trafficking. These efforts began in the mid-1970s and many have continued through to the present. For example, in March 2018, the Oklahoma City Police Department arrested 35 men during a sting operation aimed at sex buyers. The “demand suppression” operation took place from March 26 to March 29, and police said that two metro hotels assisted in the operation.
Oklahoma County (including the city) has been imposing community service on arrested sex buyers (as well as on prostituted women) since 2002. An individual can be sentenced to complete up to 80-hours of community service. Although not often enforced in recent years, Oklahoma County can impose geographic restrictions on criminal defendants, including arrested sex buyers. The restriction bars the individual from being in any of a dozen areas known for the persistent presence of street level prostitution. The “john school” education program option was dissolved by 2011, approximately, due to a lack of political support and fees set at a level inadequate for the program to be financially self-sufficient or revenue-positive, as are most john schools. [NOTE: Thanks to Brian Bates of JohnTV for providing information in 2014 about fines, community service, and john school as they applied to sex buyers arrested in the city in the 2008-2013 timeframe, and to a representative of the OKPD who completed the survey for the National Assessment]
As is the case in most cities, Oklahoma City police can either charge with state prostitution offenses and refer misdemeanor-level prostitution cases to district criminal courts, or cite with ordinance violations and refer cases to the city attorney’s office. Historically, local prostitution crimes have been handled by the city – treated mostly as a ticket or civil violation. Around 2002, the sitting district attorney requested all prostitution crimes to be given to his office (county prosecutors) so they could pursue the defendants in criminal courts. Since that happened, the state reportedly has recouped far less in fines (the average is only $50) than they did when the city prosecuted the cases (fines ranged between $600-$1,200). Also, when city courts handle the cases, the fine revenue returns to the city which has made the investment in reverse stings that produced the arrests. When cases are handled in the district courts, typically more or all of the fine revenue does not return to the city. In October 2022, a two-day sting produced the arrests of 16 men for soliciting prostitution. According to police officials, the suspects ranged in age from 20-years-old to 84-years-old.
Some arrests of sex buyers are not the result of sting operations using undercover decoys, but instead are the product of investigations or enforcement actions in response to allegations against real victims. In some cases, arrested sex buyers lose their employment, either by resigning or through termination by their employer. For example, in March 2017, an Oklahoma state senator was arrested for abusing a child in sexual exploitation, and soon afterward resigned from the legislature. The man had faced pressure to step down following his arrest, and the state Senate voted to strip him of most of his power, including his ability to serve on Senate committees and author bills. The Senate also took away his office and perks such as his executive assistant and parking space. The Oklahoma Senate cooperated with authorities, including the FBI and U.S. Secret Service in Oklahoma City who had joined the criminal investigation. The man had been charged in Cleveland County with engaging in child prostitution, transporting a minor for prostitution and engaging in prostitution within 1,000 feet of a church. The senator could potentially be eligible to collect his state retirement even if he were convicted, as he was vested in the state’s retirement system after serving six years in the Senate. Oklahoma law allows for the forfeiture of retirement benefits only for certain felony convictions, including bribery, corruption, forgery and perjury.
In October 2000, a man was arrested after he met with a person he believed to be a 15-year-old female with whom he had been corresponding over the Internet, authorities said. The 44-year-old was was arrested at Quail Springs Mall after he allegedly corresponded via e-mail and chat rooms with an undercover detective. The content of the conversation became sexually explicit, and an arrangement was made for the girl and suspected sex buyer to meet at the mall. The suspect was charged with using the Internet to knowingly persuade, induce, entice a minor to engage in prostitution or other sexual activity.
In September 2021, an Oklahoma City police sergeant was fired after he was arrested for engaging in prostitution and assaulting staff at a local massage parlor. An Oklahoma City Police Department administrative investigation sustained 12 allegations against the officer after he was criminally charged by the Oklahoma County District Attorney’s Office. The allegations began when police were called to a massage parlor located near SW 59th and South Western Avenue, and the suspect allegedly requested through a text message a sex act in exchange for $120. The women reportedly told the suspect that the request was illegal and that they called police. The man then allegedly went into the business and showed his identification card that had “Police Officer” in bright red letters. The women said the officer then became aggressive with them and pushed them into a wall and attempted to get money out of the cash register. In addition to allegedly requesting illegal paid sex, the officer did not provide his name or badge number when the employees asked him, and the officer also abused his power by claiming he was investigating the business and used police dispatch and records for his personal use. The officer was charged with one count of engaging in prostitution and one count of assault and battery. The police department in September released the termination letter the man received from the Police Chief. The termination letter stated the officer admitted to all of the allegations of misconduct. In April, 2023, another web-based reverse sting resulted in the arrest of 10 sex buyers.
- Oklahoma City Police Department
National Assessment Survey (2012)
- https://newsok.com/police-arrest-34-in-city-escort-service-sting (1988)
- https://oklahoman.com/prostitution-sting-brings-107-arrests (1993)
- “OKC Prostitute Sting Nets Former Official”, Durant Daily Democrat, July 4 1993.
- “Prosecutor Nabbed in Prostitution Sting”, Albany Herald, November 13 2004.
- “More Tricks than Treats, Five Busted in OKC Prostitution Sting”, CBS/KWTV-TV 9, November 1 2011.
- “Men, Women Arrested in OKC Prostitution Sting”, NBC/KFOR-TV 4, March 13 2012.
- “Prostitution Sting Nets 12 Arrests in Oklahoma City”, Oklahoman, August 13 2012.
- “Crackdown on Prostitution Nets 44 Arrests in Oklahoma City”, Oklahoman, August 24 2012.
- “10 Arrested in Oklahoma City Prostitution Sting”, Oklahoman, April 24 2013.
- “Alleged Prostitution Ring May Involve Human Trafficking”, NBC/KFOR-TV 4, May 2 2013.
- https://okcfox.com/police-operation-aimed-at-customers-of-prostitution-nets-over-20-arrests (2018)
- http://www.news9.com/5-arrested-in-oklahoma-city-undercover-prostitution-sting (2019)
- https://kfor.com/news/local/ocpd-16-men-arrested-in-undercover-prostitution-operation (2022)
- Man arrested in sex case (2000)
- https://tulsaworld.com/state-briefs-edmond-man-arrested-on-internet-sex-charges (2000)
- “Businessman Busted in Online Prostitution Ring”, CBS/KWTV-TV 9, August 14 2008.
- “Prostitution Sting Nets Arrests of Two Oklahoma Doctors’, Oklahoman, August 27 2010.
- “Prostitution Stings Continue in Oklahoma City; Vice Unit Arrests 11”, Tulsa World, October 24 2013.
- Oklahoma City sting nets 17 arrests related to prostitution (2022)
- https://kfor.com/okcpd-12-arrested-in-prostitution-operation (2023)
- https://www.news9.com/12-arrested-after-online-prostitution-sting-in-okc (2023)
- https://www.news9.com/at-least-10-arrested-in-alleged-okc-prostitution-sting (2023)
Arrest of Sex Buyers, Disclosure of Identities:
- https://www.lawofficer.com/okc-police-alonzo-fields (2021)
- https://www.fox23.com/prostitution-sting-arrest-results-9-year-prison-sentence (2022)
- Oklahoma City sting nets 17 arrests related to prostitution (2022)
Loss of Employment:
Neighborhood Action, Identity Disclosure:
- JohnTV Official Website
- “Informal Ally of Oklahoma City Police Puts Rough Handling of Suspect on Tape”, Kingman Daily Miner, July 12 2002.
- “Purging Prostitution with Bawdy Candid Camera”, Dallas Morning News, October 21 2002.
- “Caught with Their Pants Down”, Wired Magazine, November 1 2004.
- “‘Video Vigilante’ Tries to Go On with His Life”, Oklahoman, August 16 2007.
- “Video Vigilante Captures Misdeeds”, Boston Globe, March 10 2008.
- https://www.issuelab.org/resources/1191/1191.pdf (2008)
- “‘Video Vigilante’ Makes Allegations Against Man Accused of Murder”, CBS/KWTV-TV 9, February 8 2010.
- “‘Video Vigilante’ Turns Lens on Okla. Prostitution”, MSNBC, August 10 2011.
- “Camera Catches Oklahoma City Child Prostitutes”, CBS/KWTV-TV 9, November 3 2011.
- “Oklahoma City May Publicize More Lewdness Suspects”, Dallas Morning News, June 6 1999.
- “Oklahoma Pulls the Plug on Shame TV”, CNN, March 7 2003.
- “OKC Publication Takes Shot at Criminals”, Oklahoma City Journal Record, January 28 2011.
- “Oklahoma City May Impound Cars Used in Crimes”, Oklahoman, September 12 2007.
- “OKC Police Seek New Fines for Prostitution,” CBS/KWTV-TV 9, October 18 2011.
- “Okla. City May Impound Cars Used in Prostitution,” Wichita Falls Times Record News, October 18 2011.
- https://www.oklahoman.com/story/news/politics/oklahoma-city-ordinance-change-could-allow-impoundment-of-cars-used-in-prostitution (2011)
- “OKC Police Arrest 16 People in Two Day Prostitution Sting”, CBS/KWTV-TV 9, June 4 2012.
Local Sex Trafficking, Child Sexual Exploitation, Related CSAM:
- “Parents Charged with Prostituting Daughter”, Durant Daily Democrat, May 20 1993.
- “Second Man Arrested on Rape, Porn Charge”, Durant Daily Democrat, August 25 1994.
- https://tulsaworld.com/archive/state-briefs-edmond-man-arrested-on-internet-sex-charges (2000)
- “Denver FBI Looks into Child Prostitution”, Rocky Mountain News, May 12 2004.
- “Human Trafficking Bill by Edmond Legislator Passes on House Floor”, Edmund Floor, March 15 2006.
- “Immigrant Brothel: Women Forced into Prostitution”, Beaver County Times, February 9 2007.
- “Man Pleads Guilty to Smuggling Women for Prostitution in Brothel Ring”, USA Today, February 10 2007.
- “Wichita Men Accused of Kidnapping”, ABC/KAKE-TV 10, November 13 2007.
- “OKC Man Given 11 Years in Prostitution Case”, Tulsa World, August 6 2008.
- “Two in Jail Accused of Pimping Juvenile at Oklahoma City Truck Stop”, Oklahoman, May 24 2010.
- “OKC Drug Addicts Prostitute Toddler for Meth”, CBS/KWTV-TV 9, June 24 2011.
- “OKC Prostitution Ring Brings Attention to Human Trafficking”, CBS/KWTV-TV 9, August 19 2011.
- “Block Party for Prostitution-Plagued Neighborhood Planned”, Oklahoman, April 22 2012.
- “Police: Reports of Juvenile Prostitution on Rise in OKC”, CBS/KWTV-TV 9, June 5 2012.
- “Nationwide Prostitution Sting Nets Arrests in OKC”, CBS/KWTV-TV 9, June 25 2012.
- “OKC Man Charged with Transporting Minor for Sex”, CBS/KWTV-TV 9, October 10 2012.
- “Oklahoma County D.A. Files Charges Against Human Trafficking Suspects”, CBS/KWTV-TV 9, November 9 2012.
- “Arizona Men Charged with Human Trafficking in Oklahoma County”, NBC/KFOR-TV 4, November 10 2012.
- “OKC Police Arrest Two After Teen Says She Was Forced into Prostitution”, CBS/KWTV-TV 9, January 11 2013.
- “Bill Protecting Sex Trafficking Victims Passes Committee”, NBC/KFOR-TV 4, February 11 2013.
- “Eight Sentenced in Human Trafficking Ring in OKC, Tulsa”, CBS/KWTV-TV 9, March 12 2013.
- “Nationwide Prostitution Sting Nets OKC Man”, CBS/KOTV-DT 6, June 25 2013.
- “Shocking Realities in Operation Cross Country Sex Trafficking Sting”, CBS/KWTV-TV 9, July 24 2014.
- “Study Examines Way to Protect Human Trafficking Victims in Oklahoma”, ABC/KOCO-TV 5, September 24 2014.
- “Police Arrest 7 in OKC Prostitution Ring,” November 4 2014.
- “Five OKC Residents Accused of Child Sex Trafficking Crimes,” Oklahoman, July 18 2015.
- “Man Sentenced to 30 Years for Child Sex Trafficking,” FOX/KOKH-TV 25, October 16 2015.
- https://www.justice.gov/oklahoma-city-man-sentenced-serve-more-twenty-four-years-federal-prison-child-sex (2021)
- https://www.wbap.com/15-year-old-kidnap-victim-rescued-in-oklahoma-city (2022)
- https://kfor.com/police-man-arrested-on-child-pornography-charges-after-bust (2022)
- https://www.news9.com/at-least-10-arrested-in-alleged-okc-prostitution-ring (2023)
Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “New Cry of Prejudice”, Altus Times-Democrat, May 28 1971.
- “Man Charged in Prostitution Case Arrested Again”, Anchorage Daily News, May 25 1973.
- “District Attorney Charged on Two Felony Counts”, Durant Daily Democrat, June 5 1984.
- “Bill Calls for AIDS Tests on Prostitutes, Customers”, Frederick Daily Leader, April 10 1987.
- “House Approves AIDS Testing Bill”, Altus Times, May 28 1987.
- “Escort Services Targeted; Oklahoma City Seeks to Cut Telephone Connections”, Dallas Morning News, July 5 1987.
- “Oklahoma City Probe Led to State Line Raid”, Spokane Spokesman-Review, July 13 1988.
- “Complaints About Prostitute Lands Kansas Trucker in Jail”, Lawrence Journal-World, February 11 1999.
- “Ardmore Woman Arrested as Police Bust State’s Largest Prostitution Ring”, Durant Daily Democrat, January 2 2002.
- “Lawmakers Author Legislation Aimed at Prostitution”, Oklahoma City Journal Record, January 29 2002.
- “OKC Medical Briefs: February 27, 2002”, Oklahoma City Journal Record, February 27 2002.
- “Court Strikes Down Prostitution Bail Statute”, Oklahoma Business News, July 26 2002.
- “OKC to Hire Attorney for Drafting Ordinance Regulating Adult Entertainment”, Oklahoma City Journal Record, January 8 2003.
- “FBI-Led Sting Results in 20 Sex-Trade Arrests”, Oklahoman, October 27 2008.
- “Craigslist Postings Expose Online Prostitution”, CBS/KWTV-TV 9, November 6 2008.
- “Store Owner: ‘Prostitution on S. Robinson Worst Ever'”, KSBI-TV 52, April 21 2009.
- “Oklahoma City Police Accuse Father, Son of Tying Up and Beating Prostitute”, Oklahoman, September 21 2009.
- “Drugs, Cash Seized in Oklahoma City Prostitution Inquiry”, Oklahoman, November 11 2009.
- “Truckstop Prostitution Targeted in Oklahoma City Lawsuit”, CBS/KWTV-TV 9, November 9 2010.
- “Judge Orders OKC Truck Stop to Combat Prostitution”, Oklahoman, April 9 2011.
- “No Boundaries, Salvation Army Have Outreach Program for Oklahoma City Prostitutes”, Tulsa World, January 23 2012.
- “Man Accused of Running Prostitution House in SW OKC”, CBS/KWTV-TV 9, March 2 2012.
- “OKC Police Target Online Prostitution”, NBC/KFOR-TV 4, June 22 2012.
- “Non-Profit Helping Women Get Off Streets”, NBC/KFOR-TV 4, September 8 2012.
- “Alleged OKC Prostitution Ring Leader’s Cars Sold at Auction”, CBS/KWTV-TV 9, October 19 2012.
- http://okcfox.com/news/local/husband-wife-arrested-for-prostitution-at-massage-parlor (2018)
- https://www.newson6.com/police-bust-prostitution-business-multiple-homes-across-metro (2022)
- https://okcfox.com/okc-police-arrest-three-in-prostitution-ring (2022)
- https://www.kswo.com/obn-investigation-leads-arrests-drug-seizures (2023)
- https://kfor.com/obn-organized-crime-network-using-illegal-marijuana-farms-for-drug-sex-trafficking (2023)
- https://www.oklahoman.com/oklahoma-medical-marijuana-grow-farms-brought-crime-sex-trafficking (2023)
- https://tulsaworld.com/more-than-800-oklahoma-medical-marijuana-farms-linked-to-organized-crime-drug-agency-says (2023)
Documented Violence Against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:
- “Possible Serial Killer Worries Authorities in Central States”, USA Today, February 27 2004.
- “Investigators Search for Link in Slayings”, Spartanburg Herald-Journal, February 28 2004.
- “Notes Left at Truck Stops Could Offer Clues in Deaths of Prostitutes”, Belleville News-Democrat, March 1 2004.
- “Women of Diverse Backgrounds Meet Similar Fates”, My West Texas, April 3 2004.
- “Student Slipped Away from College into Life of Prostitution Before Slaying”, Altus Times, April 5 2004.
- “Police Mull Midwest Prostitute Slayings”, USA Today, April 6 2004.
- “Road Is Risky for Truck-Stop Prostitutes”, Lakeland Ledger, April 8 2004.
- “Prostitutes’ Deaths May Be Linked”, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, August 11 2004.
- “Truck Seized, Released in Prostitute Slaying Case”, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, May 15 2006.
- “Nine Year Anniversary of the Murder of OKC Teen Prostitute”, JohnTV, January 31 2013.
- “Man Who Contacted Jaymie Adams for Sex Now Arrested for Her Murder”, CBS/KWTV-TV 9, April 2 2013.
- “Blanchard Man Pleads Guilty to Manslaughter, Avoids Prison Time in Wife’s Death”, Franklin Daily Journal, February 13 2014.
- “Man Shot after Looking for Love Online”, NBC/KFOR-TV 4, June 27 2014.
- https://www.news4jax.com/pair-sought-in-oklahoma-homicide-arrested-in-st-johns-county (2019)