Placer County is located just east of Sacramento, California and has a population of about 386,000 residents. The county is included within the greater Sacramento metropolitan area, and contains several substantial cities, including Roseville and Auburn. The cities and unincorporated areas within the county (and the larger Sacramento region) have had substantial documented sex trafficking and prostitution activity.
To address both prostitution and sex trafficking, the Placer County Sheriffs office has collaborated with local, state, and federal agencies to conduct reverse stings, and comprehensive operations that have targeted commercial sex buyers, providers, and traffickers. For example, in December 2018, Auburn Police reported a human trafficking investigation inside city limits resulted in the arrest of eight women on suspicion of prostitution, a man and woman arrested for pimping, and two men arrested on suspicion of soliciting for prostitution. The arrests took place during a two-day operation led by Auburn Police, and included the Placer County Sheriff’s Office special investigations unit, county probation and the California Alcoholic Beverage Control office. A total of 17 people were contacted during the two-day operation, according to Auburn Police. During one of the operations, a woman was arrested and charged with child endangerment for bringing a small child with her during the course of participating in prostitution.
In February, 2018 a three-city, multi-agency task force operation designed to combat human trafficking resulted in the local arrest of three men, two for pimping and pandering and one for solicitation. The three-day operation on human trafficking, Operation Reclaim and Rebuild, was conducted throughout California, including Lincoln, Rocklin and Roseville, and resulted in 510 arrests statewide, including 178 males arrested for solicitation. In Auburn, one man was arrested for solicitation. A detective of the Auburn Police Department and the Placer County Special Investigations Unit helped organize Operation Reclaim and Rebuild’s local efforts, and said that arrests of sex buyers occur regularly:
“We focus on underage victims and work on the supply and demand theory. We try to save and rescue the children, arrest pimps and move forward on charges and, on the demand side, work to reverse John stings. We need to stay on top of and work both sides, supply and demand. If there is no demand, there wouldn’t be a problem.””
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 70 participating federal, state and local law enforcement agencies (including the Placer County Sheriff’s Office) and task forces from across California. In addition to rescuing and serving victims of sexual slavery and human trafficking and arresting then prosecuting their captors, Operation Reclaim and Rebuild also seeks to disrupt the demand for vulnerable victims by targeting their customers. 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 suspects on social media, traffickers and customers who sought to exploit and sexually abuse children. Operation Reclaim and Rebuild resulted in 266 male sex buyers 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. Tin 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
- Placer County Sheriff’s Office
- Placer County Special Investigations Unit
- Auburn Police Department
- California Alcoholic Beverage Control
Reverse Stings, Shaming:
- http://www.lincolnnewsmessenger.com/article/3/14/18/human-trafficking-issue-placer-county-law-enforcement (2018)
- http://www.lincolnnewsmessenger.com/article/2/08/18/several-cited-three-arrested-three-city-human-trafficking-crackdown (2018)
- http://www.auburnjournal.com/article/12/20/18/8-prostitution-arrests-auburn (2018)
- https://lasd.org/operation-reclaim-and-rebuild-2020/ (2020)
Background on Local Prostitution and Sex Trafficking:
- “Massage Therapists Rubbed the Wrong Way; Ordinance Aimed at Adult Entertainment,” Sacramento Bee, April 16 1998.
- “Prostitution Sting Leads to 4 Arrests,” Sacramento Bee, August 23 2007.
- “Roseville ‘Pimping’ Suspect to Appear in Court,” Roseville Press Tribune, February 16 2009.
- “Police Make Arrest in Prostitution Case,” Roseville Press Tribune, July 17 2009.
- “Police: Man Suspected of Pimping 3 Women, 2 Underage,” Roseville Press Tribune, May 19 2009.
- “Pimping Suspect Arrested,” Roseville Press Tribune, October 13 2009.
- “Police Nab Alleged Prostitute, Pimp,” Roseville Press Tribune, February 22 2010.
- “Roseville PD: Man Arrested for Pimping after Ad Answered,” Sacramento Bee, February 24 2010.
- “Prostitution Sting Yields Several Arrests,” Roseville Press Tribune, August 16 2010.
- “Roseville Man Arrested for Pimping, Other Charges,” Roseville Press Tribune, June 2 2010.
- “Roseville Pair Arrested for Pimping Teen,” Roseville Press Tribune, August 10 2010.
- “Jury Hears Tale of ‘Fear’ from Alleged Victim in Teen Pimping Case,” Roseville Press Tribune, March 4 2013.
- “Testimony in Putnam and Thongsy Case Shows Websites Connecting Roseville to Prostitution,” Roseville Press Tribune, March 6 2013.
- “Putnam and Thongsy Found Guilty of Pimping Teenagers; Putnam Found Not Guilty of Felony Sex Act with a Minor,” Roseville Press Tribune, March 21 2013.
- “Putnam Sentenced to 7 Years in Prison for Teen Pimping Case; Request for New Trial Denied by Judge,” Roseville Press Tribune, August 29 2013.
- “Woman Arrested in Roseville Accused of Prostitution, Using Teen as Pimp,” Sacramento Bee, May 20 2014.
- https://sacramento.cbslocal.com/2014/07/10/2-arrested-in-placer-county-massage-parlor-investigation/ (2014)
- “Roseville Police Make Arrest in Alleged Human Trafficking Case; Suspect Was on Bail for Forced Abduction, Forced Prostitution in Lake County,” Roseville Press Tribune, February 6 2015.
- “Prison Employee Accused of Trafficking Teen Girl,” ABC/KXTV-TV 10, May 11 2015.
- “Roseville Police Make Second Human Trafficking Bust on Harding Ave in Five Months,” Roseville Press Tribune, July 23 2015.
- “Neighbors concerned after prostitution bust at Roseville apartment complex,” Fox40, September 21, 2017.
- https://www.sacbee.com/news/local/crime/ (2017)
- https://www.kcra.com/article/undercover-operation-busts-placer-county-spa-employee (2018)