Sacramento, CA

Tactics Used

Auto Seizure
Buyer Arrests
Community Service
Employment Loss
Identity Disclosure
IT Based Tactics
John School
License Suspension
Neighborhood Action
Public Education
Reverse Stings
SOAP Orders
Web Stings

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

To address the consumer-level demand that drives all prostitution and sex trafficking, Sacramento police began conducting reverse stings more than 25 years ago, and has averaged one or two demand reduction 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. In 2011, police and volunteers collaborated to send “Dear John” letters to suspected sex buyers.  The city has explored the “john school” concept, sending two police officers to observe a session of the First Offender Prostitution Program (FOPP) in San Francisco in 2006.  Too our knowledge, the city has not developed a john school, or has recent plans to do so.

The city of Sacramento has also participated in Sacramento County-wide reverse stings.  For example, in November 2020 the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office released results of a coordinated sting operation aimed at reducing human trafficking in the area. “Operation: Hot Spots” was aimed at targeting sex buyers, the demand side of human trafficking. The 2020 crackdown happened between September and mid-November, 2020, and resulted in 46 total arrests for soliciting for prostitution and human trafficking, more than twice as many arrests as during the prior year.

In January, 2022, Sacramento police announced that they had made 55 arrests during a major operation targeting sex trafficking that took almost a month to complete. The sting operation focused on tackling the demand side of human trafficking, and the operation included detectives posing as prostituted persons online. Sacramento police reported collaborating with agencies on reverse stings in other communities in addition to Sacramento, including Folsom, Roseville, and Rockville.

Key Partners

  • Sacramento Police Department
  • Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office

Key Sources

National Assessment Survey, Interview, Site Visit (2012)

Street-Level Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

Web-based Reverse Stings:

“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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