Provo is the third-largest city in the state of Utah, located about 40 miles south of Salt Lake City. Provo has a population of approximately 117,000. Residents have complained to police about prostitution. In response to such concerns, police have conducted at least one reverse sting targeting consumer-level demand for commercial sex. On May 6 and 7, 2009, Provo Police Department officers posted an ad on Craigslist and Backpage advertising sex for sale. The ad was allegedly from an out-of-state woman who said she would be visiting Provo and would meet with those wanting to “have a good time.” Two undercover female officers made 11 appointments for a four- to five-hour window on May 7, but only nine men showed up offering to pay for sex. The men were all arrested and cited with a class B misdemeanor of patronizing a prostitute. Their names were not released to the public.
In May, 2019, the Provo and Orem police departments collaborated on an undercover sting operation in Utah County that netted 13 arrests of men accused of trying to lure minors on the internet to meet for sexual contact. Police said they struck up conversations with the suspects online, on sites and apps such as Grindr, Whisper and Craigslist.
- Provo Police Department
- Provo City Attorney’s Office
- Utah’s Internet Crimes Against Children task force
- Utah County Sheriff’s Office
- Web-Based Reverse Stings:
- “Nine Utah Men Cited in Provo Prostitution Sting,” Provo Daily Herald, May 14 2009.
- “Prostitution Sting Nets 9 Arrests in Provo,” Deseret News, May 15 2009.
- “In Prostitution Stings, Johns Getting Busted but Not Tested for HIV,” Salt Lake Tribune, December 13 2009.
- https://www.sltrib.com/news/2019/05/20/utah-task-force-arrests/ (2019)
- Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:
- Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “Three Women Charged with Prostitution,” Provo Daily Herald, December 3 2001.
- “Provo Police Uncover Internet Sex Scheme,” Deseret News, February 23 2002.
- “Woman Charged with Prostitution in Provo,” Deseret News, April 9 2009.
- https://www.ksl.com/article/46499969/utah-massage-parlor-owner-arrested-for-investigation-of-prostitution (2019)