Pleasanton, CA

Tactics Used

Reverse stings
Shaming
Auto seizure
Community service
Public education
Neighborhood action
SOAP orders
John school
Letters
Cameras
Web stings
License suspension

Pleasanton is a city of about 80,000 residents in Alameda County, California. It is a suburb in the San Francisco Bay Area located about 25 miles east of Oakland, and 6 miles west of Livermore. Prostitution and sex trafficking of minors has been documented in the city.  For example, in 2005 there were reports of widespread internet-based prostitution and sex trafficking in Pleasanton and nearby towns, and in 2006 the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office and the Pleasanton Police Department arrested 13 people in an internet prostitution sting.  In 2012 and 2013, police ran several operations to combat prostitution in massage parlors that advertised online:  e.g., police in the Tri-Valley use information from a massage parlor rating website (rubmaps.com ) which listed local massage parlors along with menus of sexual services the site says are provided in addition to massages by some of the masseuses. Pleasanton had the highest number of parlors listed in the Tri-Valley with 12, followed by Dublin (9), San Ramon (8), and Danville and Livermore (3 each), and local police officials said they were aware of that site along with several other similar websites.

In response, police have used tactics that focus on combating demand.  For example, in May, 2018, eleven people were arrested in Pleasanton during a web-based reverse sting.  The arrests occurred in a hotel on Bernal Ave. Undercover officers used a fictitious profile to create an online ad to attract purchasers seeking prostitution services. In the 8-hour operation, over 40 people responded to the ad. Ten men agreed to pay for sex and went to the hotel where the undercover sting happened. One of the men thought he was meeting a 15-year-old girl. Another man tried to act as the undercover officer’s pimp, offering protection and other services in exchange for a portion of the proceeds. Only one of the 11 men arrested was from Pleasanton. The charges include solicitation of prostitution, resisting arrest, pandering, and meeting with a minor with the intention of engaging in lewd or lascivious behavior. All 11 people were booked into Santa Rita Jail. Livermore and Hayward police helped in the sting.  Pleasanton police said the May 2018 operation was not the first operation they have conducted.  In May, 2019 a similar operation produced the arrest of seven sex buyers..

“We get occasional complaints from hotels and their guests regarding rooms being rented by suspected prostitutes and seeing men come and go during all hours of the day and night. We work to address these individually as they arise but also do occasional proactive enforcement such as this to discourage the purchasing of commercial sex. This particular operation was focused on the buyer side to send a message we are not going to tolerate this activity in our community.”

Anyone with information about possible prostitution activity in Pleasanton is asked to call police at 925-931-5100.

Key Partners

  • Pleasanton Police Department
  • Livermore Police Department
  • Hayward Police Department
  • Alameda County Sheriff’s Office

Key Sources

Reverse Stings:

Background on Prostitution and Sex Trafficking in the Region:

State California
Type City
Population 82270
Location
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