|IT Based Tactics||✓|
Pierre is the capital city of South Dakota, located in the center of the state. It has a population of approximately 14,000 residents and is the county seat of Hughes County, SD. Prostitution and sex trafficking activity have been well-documented in the city and greater county area. This activity and its ancillary crimes has resulted in complaints to local law enforcement from residents and businesses. Among the more serious issues associated with the area’s commercial sex market are child sex trafficking and child sexual exploitation.
In effort to reduce demand for commercial sex in the area, the Pierre Police Department has conducted at least one web-based reverse sting operation. For example, in October 2015, the PPD and the South Dakota Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force conducted a web-based reverse sting targeting individuals seeking to sexually exploit minors in exchange for money. The investigation was conducted in Pierre and resulted in the arrest of one male sex buyer for one count of attempted commercial sex trafficking, which has a 10 year minimum/mandatory prison sentence. The identity of the arrested male sex buyer was included in the press release from the South Dakota Attorney General’s Office. The then-South Dakota Attorney General stated that the operation was conducted to in effort to decrease online solicitation of minors in the area,
The joint law enforcement operations are protecting children. The continued decrease in the number of arrests further demonstrates the success the operations are at deterring human trafficking and the solicitation of young children. I want to thank our local, federal and state officers for their dedication and commitment to protecting our communities.
Sex buyers have also been apprehended by police as the result of alternative investigations or residential tips to local law enforcement. For example, in 2007, two prostituted women and one male sex buyer were arrested as the result of a response of a residential tip to the PPD. According to reports, the PPD received a tip from a concerned resident about suspected prostitution activity occurring at a local hotel. Upon arriving to the hotel, officers from the PPD found the two women and the sex buyer engaging in commercial sex. The two women were arrested on prostitution charges and the male sex buyer was charged with hiring for sexual activity. The names of arrestees were included in reports by local media outlets.
In 2008, officers from the PPD responded to a call regarding a suspicious vehicle behind a local strip mall. When police arrived at the scene, they discovered a man and a woman in the car. Upon further investigation, police found that the two had been engaging in commercial sex. Police arrested the woman for ‘suspicion of prostitution’ and arrested the male sex buyer for ‘hiring sexual activity.’ The names of arrestees were included in reports by local media outlets.
Web-Based Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:
- Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Unit Makes Arrest (2015)
- Miller Man Indicted for Attempted Sex Trafficking (2015)
- Miller Man Sentenced for Attempted Sex Trafficking (2016)
Sex Buyer Arrests, Identity Disclosure:
- Prostitution arrests made in state capital (2007)
- Police foil alleged prostitution in Pierre (2008)
- Prostitution bust made in Pierre (2008)
Background on Local Prostitution and Sex Trafficking:
- Minneapolis prostitute says she went to Pierre to work legislative session (1977)
- AG Jackley and 45 other AG’s call on Backpage.com to Ban Ads Soliciting Sex Trafficking (2011)
- A ‘rising’ number of cases sparks action (2013)
- Attorney General Jackley Leads Effort Asking Congress to Fight Prostitution and Child Sex Trafficking by Amending Federal Law (2013)
- Pierre woman pleads not guilty to human trafficking (2017)
- https://www.capjournal.com/pierre-woman-pleads-not-guilty-to-human-trafficking-prostitution-and-pimping-of-18-year-old (2017)
- Prevent Human Trafficking – SD Department of Public Safety (2022)
- https://www.bhpioneer.com/ag-vargo-talks-taking-on-human-traffickers (2022)