Redding is a city of approximately 92,000 residents, and serves as the county seat of Shasta County, California, in the northern part of the state. Prostitution and sex trafficking activity have been well-documented in the city. This activity and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates results in complaints to law enforcement agencies from residents and businesses. The Redding Police Department received numerous complaints about suspicious activity at a massage business on Lake Blvd., and responded by conducting an undercover operation. The investigation confirmed prostitution was occurring in the business and led to at least one arrest.
Among the more serious problems associated with commercial sex in the area include child sex trafficking, and Redding’s location is a major factor in drawing sex traffickers to the area. Its position along the North/South Interstate 5 corridor, and proximity to Sacramento and Reno, makes it a logical stop on routes that pimps routinely travel. One victim was a 14-year-old girl who confirmed that she had been forced into prostitution on a circuit that included Redding, CA, Reno, NV, then Sacramento, CA, and advertising that facilitated this child sex trafficking occurred online using Backpage. In May 2014 Redding police arrested two people for kidnapping a 16-year-old girl in Sacramento, and held the girl against her will at two Redding homes, forcing her into prostitution. The minor was eventually able to escape, flagging down people who lived on the 1900 block of Hartnell Avenue. Police said the girl was held against her will for about a month in Redding, and threatened if she tried to escape.
To combat prostitution and sex trafficking in the area, local law enforcement agencies have targeted consumer-level demand for commercial sex, which provides the revenue stream driving all commercial sex and trafficking. In January 2013, the Tehama County District Attorney’s Office announced the arrest of 26 people during a three-month undercover operation known as Wicked Web. The operation, targeting people using the Internet for criminal activity, netted arrests of sexual predators and those interested in buying or selling drugs. Those arrested included two men posing as tutors to meet minors for sex, a man who had federal child pornography charges pending. A total of 13 men were arrested on charges related to prostitution and meeting minors for sex. The identities of the men and their criminal charges were included in news releases.
- Redding Police Department
- Tehama CountySheriff’s Office
- Northern California Anti-Trafficking Coalition
- Tehama County District Attorney’s Office
Web-Based Reverse Sting, Shaming:
Background on Local Prostitution and Sex Trafficking:
- https://krcrtv.com/archive/sex-trafficking-in-redding-yes-its-happening-here (2014)
- https://www.sacbee.com/news/local/crime/article2598917.html (2014)
- https://www.redding.com/story/news/2017/11/01/massage-parlor-employee-arrested-prostitution-sting (2017)
- http://evalleytimes.com/news/rpd-law-enforcements-make-arrests-prostitution-four-redding-massage-parlors/ (2017)
- https://www.redding.com/story/news/local/2018/04/03/one-arrested-prostitution-massage-parlor-sting-lake-blvd (2018)
- https://krcrtv.com/news/shasta-county/prostitution-arrest-at-redding-massage-parlor (2018)