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Pocola is a town of less than 4,500 residents in Eastern Oklahoma, located in Le Flore County, OK. The city is situated just south of Fort Smith, AR. Although incidents of prostitution in the community remain limited, law enforcement have in recent years reported an increase in commercial sex activity in and around the Choctaw Casino Pocola, a major tourist destination located within the town.
To address issues of prostitution and sex trafficking in the area, efforts to reduce demand for commercial sex activity have been reported. For example, in September 2014, a coordinated effort was undertaken by the Choctaw Nation Tribal Police, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, Department of Homeland Security, Le Flore County Sheriff’s Office, Le Flore County District Attorney’s Investigators, and Sebastian County Sheriff’s Office. During the operation, law enforcement agents placed and responded to online listings offering prostitution at the casino’s hotel. Officers also arrested several prostituted women for soliciting on the casino floor. Four male sex buyers and six prostituted women were arrested as a result. Their names were publicized by some media outlets; one displayed the mugshots of the arrestees (without their names) during an evening broadcast, and others listed only the names and ages without photos.
- Choctaw Nation Tribal Police
- Bureau of Indian Affairs
- Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs
- Department of Homeland Security
- Le Flore County Sheriff’s Office
- Le Flore County District Attorney’s Investigators
- Sebastian County Sheriff’s Office
Web-Based Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:
- “10 Arrested in Prostitution Ring Bust at Choctaw Casino,” ABC/KNWA-TV 50, September 25 2014.
- “10 Arrested in Prostitution Sting at Pocola Casino,” CBS/KFSM-TV 5, September 25 2014.
- “Prostitution Sting Nets 10 Arrests at Choctaw Casino in Pocola,” Fort Smith Southwest Times Record, September 25 2014.
- “Ten Arrested in Prostitution Sting at Choctaw Nation Casino in Le Flore County,” CBS/KOTV-DT 6, September 25 2014.
- http://www.4029tv.com/10-arrested-in-prostitution-sting-at-choctaw-casino/ (2014)
Background on Local Prostitution and Sex Trafficking:
- Pocola tribal police with the Choctaw nation arrested 10 people (2015)
- https://www.choctawnation.com/historical-facts-led-to-supreme-court-ruling-in-mcgirt-case/ (2020)
- Choctaw Nation Criminal Code (2022)
- Choctaw Nation – Sex Trafficking Code Amendment (2022)
- https://www.choctawnation.com/mmiw-movement-update/ (2022)