Prostitution and sex trafficking are well documented problems in the Tri-Cities area. For example, in 2010, the Benton County Court ordered a Richland mortgage banker linked to a prostitution ring to serve jail time after he admitted paying for sex with three girls, two of whom were under 18. A serial killer of prostituted women is known to have buried at least one victim in Richland.
In August of 2017, a combined sting and reverse sting using the internet was conducted by the Richland police Street Crimes Unit and resulted in the arrest of six male sex buyers in the Tri-Cities area. The Richland Police Street Crimes Unit collaborated with Kennewick Police and the Benton County Sheriff’s Office on the undercover investigation targeting prostitutes and their customers. All of the arrestees had posted or responded to sex ads online, and met with undercover officers at local hotels to pay or receive this illegal service. After discussing payments for the service, and exchanging money an arrest signal was given, and suspects were arrested by the arrest team who were waiting in the next room. The men and women were held at Benton County Jail. The women were charged with prostitution; men were charged with soliciting prostitution.
- Richland Police Department
- Kennewick Police Department
- Benton County Sheriff’s Office
- Reverse Sting:
- Web-Based Reverse Sting and Shaming:
- Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:
- Background on Prostitution in the Area: