|IT Based Tactics
Pinal County is located in central Arizona, occupying most of the land between the metropolitan areas of Phoenix and Tucson. The county seat is Florence, and although mostly rural and unincorporated, the county has a population of approximately 450,000 residents, and contains a number of substantial municipalities such as Apache Junction, Casa Grande, and Maricpoa.
Prostitution and sex trafficking activity have been well-documented in the county’s communities and unincorporated areas. 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 problems associated with commercial sex in the area include child sex trafficking. For example, in 2011 a man was arrested on child prostitution charges by the Pinal County Sheriff’s Department. Deputies said a 15-year-old girl had contacted police to report that her “pimp” had beaten her up. The suspect was found to have arranged clients for the girl through the “Escort Services” section of backpage.com. The man was charged with three counts of sexual abuse of a minor, 18 counts of child prostitution, one count unlawful imprisonment and one count of aggravated assault. In 2015, the Pinal County Attorney’s Office and Truckers Against Trafficking sponsored a local conference at the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office headquarters. The conference hosted about 50 people, mostly from law enforcement, to provide specific training to officers on how to recognize and attack sex trafficking. The event was made possible with grant funding from the Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families. The 2016 and 2018, efforts have continued within Pinal County to end juvenile sex trafficking, through multidisciplinary efforts of the county’s two family advocacy centers, which are operated in conjunction with Pinal County Attorney’s Office.
To combat prostitution and sex trafficking in the area, local law enforcement agencies have targeted consumer-level demand for commercial sex, which provides the revenue stream driving all commercial sex and trafficking. For example, in September 2010, a man was arrested for luring a minor for sexual exploitation and attempted child prostitution, according to a law enforcement press release. The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office had been notified that inappropriate handwritten notes that were sexual in nature were being left anonymously at the residence of a 14-year-old girl. The mother of the victim turned the notes over to PCSO to investigate. During the investigation, officials learned that the victim was also receiving text messages that were sexual in nature from five different pre-paid cell phone numbers. Detectives were able to trace the cell phones back to a 36-year-old man who was residing in his vehicle about a half mile from the victim’s home. Detectives served him with an Order of Protection that had been obtained by the victim’s parents, and the man left the desert area near Hunt Highway and Magma Ranch, San Tan Valley, and relocated to his mother’s home in Peoria. Two months later, the victim and another 14-year-old female began receiving text messages that were sexual in nature and reported the messages to PCSO, where he was arrested. He was taken to the Pinal County Jail and charged with 17 counts of luring a minor for sexual exploitation and one count of attempted child prostitution.
- Pinal County Sheriff’s Office
- Pinal County Attorney’s Office
- Family Advocacy Centers
- Pinal County Jail
Web-Based Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:
- https://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/pinal-county-man-arrested-for-offering-14-year-old-girl-cash-for-sex (2010)
- http://www.tucsonnewsnow.com/man-arrested-in-pinal-county-for-luring-a-minor-for-sex (2010)
Background on Local Prostitution and Sex Trafficking:
- http://www.wnem.com/pair-charged-in-child-prostitution (2011)
- https://www.pinalcentral.com/san_tan_valley_sentinel/local_news/sex-trafficking-in-pinal-scrutinized (2015)
- https://www.pinalcentral.com/former-teen-prostitute-working-with-pinal-county-to-combat-juvenile sex trafficking (2016)
- https://www.pinalcentral.com/sheriffs_log/pinal-county-sheriff-s-log (2018)
- https://www.fox10phoenix.com/woman-boyfriend-arrested-for-sex-trafficking-a-13-year-old-teen (2021)