Prescott, AZ

Tactics Used

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

Prescott is the county seat and largest city in Yavapai County, located in central Arizona. Prostitution and sex trafficking activity have been well-documented in the city and surrounding communities, and in unincorporated areas of the county.  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 crimes associated with the local commercial sex market is sex trafficking.

The Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office has conducted reverse stings to apprehend adults soliciting acts of prostitution from adults and children, within Prescott and throughout Yavapai County.In April 2014, YSCO deputies conducted a two-day investigation that resulted in the arrest of seven men who arranged to meet “and were willing to pay underage girls for sex in a Yavapai County motel room.” According to media reports, the johns responded to an online “notice” and traveled to the motel with the intention of paying an underage girl for sex. They were arrested after “they requested sex acts and handed over the money.” Following the investigation, all of the men’s names and arrest photos were distributed to the public in a press release from the YSCO.

In July 2014, two men were arrested after contacting what they thought was a minor girl through a “social networking site” and soliciting sex. Both were charged with luring a minor for sexual exploitation; one of them was also charged with child prostitution, as he allegedly “described sex acts [to the undercover officer] and offered money in exchange.”In August 2014, the YCSO conducted a third web-based anti-child prostitution investigation, netting eight men in the process. During the operation, the men allegedly “made contact [with undercover officers] in response to a notice from an internet publication” and agreed to meet what they thought were minor girls for commercial sex at a nearby motel room in Camp Verde. Seven men were arrested after they arrived at the location and made an explicit offer of money for sex with a minor; an eighth man was arrested at his home after officers served a search warrant. The john, a convicted sex offender, had “made arrangements for specific sex” with the underage girls but had not followed through with the plan. In the days following the operation, all of the arrestees’ names and mugshots were publicized in local media outlets.

In June 2015, undercover YCSO deputies apprehended four johns during a web-based reversal staged at an undisclosed motel in the county. Each of the men arrested allegedly attempted to contacted what they thought was a minor female offering prostitution (but was, in fact, a law enforcement officer) online. All of the offenders’ names and arrest photos were released to the public.In each of the aforementioned operations, the YCSO was assisted by agents with U.S. Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Arizona Department of Public Safety, Partners Against Narcotics Trafficking (PANT), and Camp Verde Marshal’s Office, as well as several nearby police departments.

In January 2018, the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office again conducted an operation in conjunction with several area law enforcement agencies to combat sex trafficking.  The operation targeted buyers who willingly hire underaged girls for prostitution. After two men initiated contact in response to the online ads placed by investigators, they made arrangements to meet the decoys posing as trafficked children in a specified Yavapai County motel room. Names, other identifying details, and booking information were provided by YCSO to media outlets.  Both men were arrested for one felony count of engaging in child prostitution after soliciting what he believed was a 16-year-old for sex. One of the men detailed his request prior to arrival and offered a specific cash amount during the contact. He provided a false name during his arrest, eventually giving his true name when booked. He was released on a promise to appear pending court. The other man arranged to offer a pure bred Blue Nose pit bull puppy as payment for the sex act, and did in fact bring this dog to the motel room where he was arrested. In addition to the YCSO, the agencies involved in the operation were the Prescott Police Department, Prescott Valley Police Department, Flagstaff Police Department, Navajo County Sheriff’s Office, FBI and Department of Homeland Security Investigations.

In July 2018 the Prescott Valley Police Departments Criminal Investigations Unit in conjunction with the Arizona Department of Public Safety (Yavapai County’s Gang & Immigration Intelligence Team Enforcement Mission / GIITEM) conducted a prostitution sting which yielded three arrests of sex buyers. The three individuals arrested were identified in news releases.

Key Partners

  • Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office
  • Cottonwood Police Department
  • Prescott Police Department
  • Prescott Valley Police Department
  • Tempe Police Department
  • Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS)
  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
  • Partners Against Narcotics Trafficking (PANT)
  • Camp Verde Marshal’s Office
  • FBI

Key Sources

State Arizona
Type City
Population 42513
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