Palmdale is a city of approximately 140,000 residents, located in north central Los Angeles County, California, near Lancaster. Cases of prostitution and sex trafficking have been reported in community. In October 2014, for example, an adult trafficker based in Palmdale was sentenced to 27 years in prison for forcing minors into prostitution in the greater Los Angeles County area. Among other charges, the trafficker pled no contest to sexually abusing one of the victims (a 14-year-old female), “branding” her with tattoos, and compelling her to commit acts of prostitution over a seven-year period. According to media reports, the “victim was able to escape earlier [in 2014] by jumping out of a moving vehicle [while he] brandished a handgun at her.”
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. During a reverse sting in 2001, for example, police arrested 12 men within a six-hour period. The names of the arrestees were not released to the public.
- Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
- Palmdale Police Department
- Street-Level Reverse Stings:
- “Sex Trade Suspects Arrested in Sting”, Daily News of Los Angeles, February 14 2001.
- “Briefly”, Daily News of Los Angeles, July 1 2001.
- “Prostitution Sting Nets 7”, Daily News of Los Angeles, August 18 2001.
- “Prostitutes a Concern in Palmdale”, Los Angeles Times, November 18 2001.
- “Eight Held in Sting”, Daily News of Los Angeles, February 23 2002.
- “22 Cited in A.V. Sex Sting Strategy”, Daily News of Los Angeles, July 18 2002.
- “Sheriff’s Undercover Prostitution Sting Nets 12 Suspects”, Daily News of Los Angeles, September 12 2002.
- “Twelve Men Arrested in Palmdale Anti-Prostitution Operation”, Daily News of Los Angeles, October 17 2002.
- “Sex Sting Nets 15”, Daily News of Los Angeles, June 25 2004.
- “10 Men Arrested in Hooker Sting”, Daily News of Los Angeles, August 6 2005.
- “Prostitution Sting Reels in 9 Arrests”, Daily News of Los Angeles, July 8 2006.
- Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:
- Documented Violence against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area: