Palmdale, CA

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

Palmdale is a city of approximately 166,000 residents, located in north central Los Angeles County near Lancaster. Cases of prostitution and sex trafficking have been reported in community. Among the more serious crimes associated with the city’s commercial sex market is child sex trafficking. For example, in October 2014, a Palmdale male sex trafficker was sentenced to 27 years in prison for sex trafficking minors in the greater Los Angeles County area. Additionally, the sex trafficker pled no contest to an array of other crimes such as sexual abuse of a minor (a 14-year-old female), branding the victims with tattoos, and compelling a minor into prostitution over a seven-year period. According to media reports, the investigation was initiated after the “victim was able to escape earlier [in 2014] by jumping out of a moving vehicle [while he] brandished a handgun at her.” The offender also admitted to exchanging money to sexually exploit a minor from Washington state. The sex trafficker also tattooed the victim’s forearms with pictures of large boxing gloves. Additionally, the sex trafficker admitted to an allegation of multiple sex crime victims, and had a prior conviction from 2007 for sex trafficking and sexually abusing a minor. The offender’s identity and photo were included in reports by local media outlets.

Local law enforcement’s responses to prostitution in Palmdale are driven in part by complaints from residents, specifically around the city’s main boulevard. Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department officers have conducted street-level reverse stings on a periodic basis since the early 2000s. For example, during a reverse sting in 2001, police arrested 12 men within a six-hour period. The names of the arrestees were not released to the public. A similar street-level reverse sting was conducted in 2006, in which nine male sex buyers, aged 20 to 55 were arrested after they attempted to solicit sex from undercover policewomen on Palmdale Boulevard. All nine male sex buyers were arrested and charged with soliciting prostitution. The investigation was conducted in response to residential complaints about prostitution and related activity within the area.

Key Sources

Street-Level Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:

Documented Violence Against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:

State California
Type City
Population 165761
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