Sacramento, CA

Tactics Used

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

Sacramento is the capital city of California, and has a population of approximately 500,000. Numerous local problems with prostitution and sex trafficking have been well-documented. The city is also one of the locations in which a serial rapist and murderer specifically targeted women engaged in prostitution.

Sacramento began conducting reverse stings more than 25 years ago, and averages about one or two of the operations per year.  Responding to persistent complaints from residents and businesses, the city stepped up its efforts focusing on demand for commercial sex in 2005-2007, launching the use of web-based reverse stings, impounding vehicles, releasing the identities of arrested sex buyers, and engaging in collaborations with organized neighborhood action groups that specifically focus on the johns.

The city also explored the “john school” concept, sending two police officers to observe a session of the First Offender Prostitution Program in San Francisco in 2006.  The city has not developed a john school, and to our knowledge has no recent plans to do so. In 2011, police and volunteers collaborated to send “Dear John” letters to suspected sex buyers.


Key Partners

  • Sacramento Police Department
  • Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office

Key Sources

National Assessment Survey, Interview, Site Visit

Street-Level Reverse Stings and Shaming:

“Dear John” Letters:


Auto Seizure:

Neighborhood Action:

Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

Documented Violence Against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:

State California
Type City
Population 500930
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