Ripon is northwest of Modesto on Highway 99 in San Joaquin County, in the Central Valley region of California. Ripon is one of San Joaquin County’s most rural communities, with a population of under 16,000. Other cities within San Joaquin County include Stockton, Manteca, and Lodi. Sex trafficking and prostitution are longstanding problems throughout the county, in unincorporated areas and within the cities and towns, including Ripon. When the number of human trafficking cases was steadily increasing in 2016 and 2017 throughout San Joaquin County, the District Attorney’s Office announced it was making efforts to educate the public and urging local residents to be more vigilant in combating the issue. In a statement from the public information officer at the district attorney’s office, there were 28 cases of human trafficking, pimping and pandering in San Joaquin County in 2016. In the first third of 2017, there had been three confirmed cases of human trafficking and more tips and leads were being explored. Two unconnected long-term investigations into human trafficking in the county resulted in the rescue of eight girls, ages 14 to 17, and the arrest of almost two dozen people in early 2017.
In 2013, the Ripon Police Department conducted the sting at an undisclosed motel, contacting escorts on the Internet. Some of the escorts offered sex for money. During the course of their investigation, detectives arranged to meet the 17-year-old girl, who was advertising her services on a popular website. After speaking to an undercover officer at the motel, the girl was arrested on suspicion of prostitution and drug possession, authorities said. The girl received a misdemeanor citation and was released to a parent’s custody. In May, 2016, detectives from the Ripon Police Department’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU), with assistance from an allied agency, conducted undercover operations yesterday at massage parlors on W. Colony Road and N. Wilma Ave. Undercover operatives responded to each of the businesses and during the course of the investigation they were reportedly propositioned by a masseuse for a sex act. The masseuses were arrested on suspicion of solicitation of prostitution and booked into the San Joaquin County Jail on misdemeanor charges. This sting operation was part of an ongoing investigation into reports of illegal activities occurring at local massage businesses. The name of the allied agency that assisted in the investigation was withheld to protect the integrity of the undercover operatives.
Among the tactics used to address such problems are those designed to curtail consumer-level demand. In August, 2012, a truck driver was cited at a San Joaquin County truck stop after admitting to police he and a female engaged in a sexual act for money inside the cab of his truck. Police were called to a Truck Plaza in Ripon to investigate a report of prostitution. The sex buyer was was cited and released on a charge of solicitation of prostitution, and his identity included in news reports. Two others were arrested and charged for facilitating the encounter: One was arrested on suspicion of prostitution, conspiracy and contributing to delinquency of a minor. The girl admitted to officers she put an ad on the Internet to be contacted for a “good time,” and she engaged in a sex act with the man at the lot. Two males admitted driving the girl to meet the trucker. One was arrested on a parole hold, suspicion of conspiracy, aiding in prostitution, and contributing to delinquency of a minor. The other was cited and released on charges of conspiracy, aiding in prostitution, and circulating unauthorized money.
- Ripon Police Department
- Special Investigations Unit (SIU)
- San Joaquin County Jail
- San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office
- San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office
Arrest and Shaming of Sex Buyer:
Background on Sex Trafficking in the Region:
- “Blackmailer Gang Uses Young Girl to Lure Men; Stockton Vice Ring Exposed”, Lodi News-Sentinel, June 21 1919.
- “Accident Victim Tells of Prostitution, Dope”, Lodi News-Sentinel, July 13 1951.
- “Stockton Parlor Is Raided”, Lodi News-Sentinel, September 2 1976.
- “2 Men Charged Running Mobile Prostitution Ring”, Lodi News-Sentinel, November 30 1978.
- “Five Suspects Sought in Rape of Tracy Woman”, Lodi News-Sentinel, March 31 1982.
- “Stockton Man Convicted in Prostitution Ring”, Lodi News-Sentinel, June 23 2006.
- “Man Arrested for Pimping Girl”, Stockton Record, September 20 2008.
- “Police Asking Victims of Stockton Prostitution Ring to Come Forward, Receive Help”, Stockton Record, July 27 2010.
- “Alleged Online Prostitution Ring Preyed on Disadvantaged”, Stockton Record, July 28 2010.
- “Felony Convictions for Man who Ran Prostitution Ring”, Stockton Record, January 27 2012.
- “County Human Trafficking Conference Shares Stories of Horror, Hope”, Stockton Record, November 10 2013.
- “Man Held after Teen Forced into Prostitution”, Stockton Record, May 27 2014.
- “Stockton Police Arrest Man in Prostitution Bust”, CBS/KPIX-TV 5, May 27 2014.
- “Sex Trade, Part II: Lured into a World of Lies”, Stockton Record, September 28 2014.
- “Man Guilty of Human Trafficking, Forcing Runaways into Prostitution,” FOX/KTXL-TV 40, December 19 2014.
- “Human Trafficking Suspect Takes a 12-Year Sentence,” FOX/KTXL-TV 40, August 10 2015.
Background on Prostitution in the Region:
- “Flophouses Face Uncertainty; Stockton Redevelopment Could Wipe Out Housing for Poor’, Lodi News-Sentinel, September 4 2001.
- “Prostitution Sting in Stockton Nets 6”, Stockton Record, August 20 2004.
- “Stocktonian Guilty in Prostitution Ring”, Stockton Record, June 23 2006.
- “Motel Manager Arrested in Pimping Raid (1:03pm)”, Stockton Record, November 8 2007.
- “Motel Served As Brothel, Police Say”, Stockton Record, November 9 2007.
- “10 Arrested in Prostitution Sweep”, Stockton Record, August 21 2008.
- “Stockton Cops Bust Suspected Prostitution Operation”, ABC/KXTV-TV 10, J
- “Stockton Bankruptcy May Force ‘Mass Exodus’ of Police During Crime Wave”, Huffington Post, August 23 2012.
- “Feds Break Up Prostitution Ring”, ABC/KXTV-TV 10, January 31 2013.
- “Illegal Work Vexes City”, Stockton Record, September 2 2013.
- https://www.recordnet.com/article/20130125/A_NEWS/301250308 (2013)
- http://bergenfield.dailyvoice.com/lodi-undercover-detectives-charge-local-woman-with-prostitution-heroin-possession-in-sting (2015)
- http://ramapo.dailyvoice.com/police-fire/tip-leads-lodi-detectives-to-undercover-prostitution-arrest-at-local-apartment (2015)
- https://local.nixle.com/alert/5647212/ (2016)
Documented Violence against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Region:
- “Man Arraigned on False Imprisonment Charge”, Lodi News-Sentinel, December 22 1983.
- “Prison Sentence Could Have Saved Woman’s Life”, Lodi News-Sentinel, September 5 1987.
- “Prostitute Murder under Investigation”, Lodi News-Sentinel, April 1 1988.
- “2 Enter Pleas”, Lodi News-Sentinel, August 2 1990.
- “Two Plead Guilty to 1991 Murder”, Lodi News-Sentinel, February 19 1993.
- “Hearing Continued”, Lodi News-Sentinel, October 20 1993.
- “Hearing Is Off”, Lodi News-Sentinel, December 2 1993.
- “Witnesses Testify in Murder Hearing”, Lodi News-Sentinel, February 8 1994.
- “Arraignment in Murder”, Lodi News-Sentinel, March 8 1994.
- “Man Denies Guilt in Murder”, Lodi News-Sentinel, March 9 1994.
- “Motions for Trial in Prostitute Murder”, Lodi News-Sentinel, March 24 1994.
- “Trial Begins for Lodi Man Charged with Murder”, Lodi News-Sentinel, August 19 1994.
- “Murder Trial Took Its Toll on Johnson”, Lodi News-Sentinel, October 22 1994.
- “Juror’s Begin Deliberations on Convicted Killer’s Fate”, Lodi News-Sentinel, December 1 1994.
- “Prosecutor Asks Jury for No-Mercy Verdict”, Lodi News-Sentinel, May 12 1995.
- “Floored; Lawyer Faints When Client Tells Jury He Killed Prostitute”, Wilmington Morning Star News, August 19 1995.
- “Stockton Youths Going to Trial in Prostitute’s Death”, Stockton Record, August 4 1996.
- “Prostitute Cut, Choked and Run Over in Stockton Attack”, Stockton Record, October 2 2002.
- “2 Suspects Arrested, Victims Sought in Rape Investigation”, Stockton Record, December 7 2007.
- “Two Men Arrested in Sexual Assaults”, Stockton Record, December 8 2007.
- “Men Accused in Prostitution Rapes Arraigned”, Stockton Record, December 14 2007.
- “Prostitute Stabbed in Dispute over Pay”, Stockton Record, February 18 2008.
- “May Gets 27 Years to Life for Killing Prostitute”, Stockton Record, May 7 2008.
- “Man Meets Prostitute, Has Vehicle Carjacked”, Stockton Record, June 4 2008.
- “Prosecutor Tells Jury Rapist Killed 3 Prostitutes for Fun”, Santa Rosa Press-Democrat, August 8 2008.
- “Serial Killer Trial Wraps Up in Stockton”, Lodi News-Sentinel, August 8 2008.
- “Stockton Serial Killer Sentenced to Death”, Lodi News-Sentinel, September 19 2008.
- “California Men Get into Shootout with Prostitutes Over Stolen iPhones”, Complex Magazine, May 11 2012.
- “61-Year-Old Woman Stabbed; Police Seeking Suspect”, Stockton Record, February 25 2013.
- “Man Robbed of Car, Money after Dropping Off Prostitute”, Stockton Record, March 28 2014.
- “Man Seeking to Hook Up with Prostitute Gets Robbed Instead”, Stockton Record, April 2 2014.