Pittsburg, 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

Pittsburg is a city of approximately 77,000 residents, located east of San Francisco in Contra Costa County, California, near Bay Point, Antioch, Concord, and Walnut Creek. Prostitution and sex trafficking have been identified as problems in the city and the surrounding communities, including the presence of  a serial killer who targeted people in prostitution in the 1990s.

In their efforts to reduce prostitution, the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office and Pittsburg Police Department have conducted periodic reverse stings since at least 1998. Operations have typically been conducted at street level, using one or more female undercover officers as decoys. The names of arrested sex buyers have not been routinely released to the public.

In 1998, media outlets reported that county officials were considering adopting an auto seizure ordinance that would enable them to seize and impound vehicles used for the purposes of solicitation. It is unclear if said ordinance was ultimately adopted.

In February 2020, the results from the statewide “Operation Reclaim and Rebuild” were announced. The week-long operation was led by the Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Task Force and involved 70 participating federal, state and local law enforcement agencies (including the Pittsburg Police Department) and task forces from across California. In addition to recovering and serving victims of sex trafficking and arresting then prosecuting their exploiters, Operation Reclaim and Rebuild also sought to disrupt the demand for vulnerable victims by targeting their buyers. Investigators focused enforcement operations wherever the trafficking of human beings took place and included street-level and internet-based operations. The operation deployed specially trained cyber detectives who posed as vulnerable teenagers and interacted with traffickers and buyers who sought to exploit and sexually abuse children. Operation Reclaim and Rebuild resulted in 266 male sex buyers being arrested for the charge of solicitation, as well as the recovery of 76 adult and 11 minor victims and the arrest of 27 suspected traffickers. In the press release announcing these results, the head of the task force said, “To the Johns: Purchasing commercial sex is illegal and buying sex adds to the exploitation of those involved.” Downloadable Material: Talking Points and Slides

Key Partners

  • Pittsburg Police Department
  • Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office

Key Sources

Street-Level Reverse Stings:

Proposed Auto Seizure:

Sex Trafficking in the Area:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

Documented Violence Against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:

State California
Type City
Population 76544
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