|IT Based Tactics||✓|
Salem is city that serves both as the state capital of Oregon and the county seat of Marion County, OR, and has a population of approximately 178,ooo residents. Documented cases of prostitution and sex trafficking have occurred in the community, and residents living in areas affected by prostitution have reported being propositioned by potential sex buyers, having their children approached and propositioned by men, and finding hazardous remnants of sexual and/or drug activity strewn about the neighborhood. In addition, in the late 1980s, a syphilis epidemic occurred in Marion County and Portland that community health experts believed to be connected to the significant increase in commercial sex activity occurring in the county. Among the more serious crimes associated with the area’s commercial sex market is child sex trafficking.
In efforts to reduce demand for commercial sex in the city, the Salem Police Department has been conducting reverse sting operations since at least 1988, if not earlier. These operations are often initiated in response to community complaints regarding prostitution activity occurring in the area. SPD officers often conduct “dual” stings, in which undercover officers target both prostituted persons and potential sex buyers. Additionally, the SPD frequently releases the identities and images of arrested sex buyers to local media outlets. For example, in 2007, police conducted a street-level reverse sting that resulted in the arrest of six male sex buyers for soliciting prostitution. According to reports, the men were arrested after they had allegedly attempted to solicit sex from undercover female officers. The arrested sex buyers’ identities, ages, and images were released to the media.
Beginning in the early 2000s, police began to seize the vehicles of arrested sex buyers who had been using their cars while attempting to solicit sex from undercover officers. For example, in 2001, the SPD with assistance from the Marion County Area Gang and Narcotics Enforcement Team, conducted a street-level reverse sting in response to complaints from the Highland neighborhood association, that resulted in the arrest of 11 male sex buyers. According to reports, arrested sex buyers were also subject to vehicle impoundment, in which offenders were required to wait a period of five days to retrieve their car, pay a $60 impoundment fee, pay a $200 towing and storage fee, and sign a written agreement promising not to repeat the offense of soliciting prostitution again. In addition, the identities of arrested sex buyers were released and letters regarding information about their arrest and the harms of sexually transmitted diseases were sent to the sex buyers’ homes.
In addition to street-level reverse sting operations, the SPD has also conducted web-based reverse sting operations since 2006, if not earlier. These operations typically consist of officers posting decoy ads on websites known for prostitution and sex trafficking, communicating with potential sex buyers to arrange a price, time, and location to meet. Upon their arrival to the predetermined location, and attempt to solicit sex acts with undercover officers in exchange for money, sex buyers are arrested. For example, in 2006, SPD officers posted decoy ads on Craigslist, a website known for prostitution and sex trafficking and communicated with potential sex buyers who had responded to the decoy ad. Upon their arrival to the predetermined location, sex buyers were arrested by undercover officers. As a result of the investigation, nine male sex buyers were arrested for soliciting prostitution. The SPD often participates in web-based reverse sting operations led by other local, state, or federal law enforcement agencies. For example, the SPD has participated in at least three of the FBI’s annual child sex trafficking investigations, Operation Cross Country, which focus on apprehending sex buyers and sex traffickers in addition to identifying and rescuing child sex trafficking victims across the nation.
Loss of employment is another consequence of buying sex that has occurred in the community. For example, in September 2013, an Oregon State Police detective resigned after he was found with a prostituted woman while on duty. Clackamas County sheriff’s deputies cited the detective after getting a report about a man and woman engaged in a sex act in bushes in southeast Portland. Since the arrest was the product of an investigation and not a sting operation it is categorized as an example of “buyer arrests” for the purposes of Demand Forum. The Oregon State Police agency headquarters is in Salem, and since the decision to terminate the employment of the detective was made by agency leaders, we have located the loss of employment in this city although the arrest occurred elsewhere and the employee worked for a statewide agency.
In May 2021, the former Oregon House Speaker (D-North Clackamas) was cited in an online sex trafficking sting along with seven other men. In a press release, the Portland Police Bureau said its Human Trafficking Unit planted ads on websites in April to attract people who would pay for sex. The legislator’s involvement was first reported by the Portland Tribune, which matched the man’s name, address and age with one of the men cited. The man’s attorney, said that his client “… denies the allegations, but respects the criminal justice process and will refrain from saying more until he has his opportunity in court.” Eight men were cited for commercial sexual solicitation, according to the bureau. The men were arrested individually when they arrived at the location agreed upon online. The Tribune noted that he voted for the law that was used to conduct the reverse sting. The man was also a board member at Clackamas Community College and the CEO and president of Columbia Public Affairs, a lobbying group. Effective immediately, the man was placed on a leave of absence from the board.
Additional demand reduction tactics such as SOAP Orders and john schools have been reported in the city. For example, in 2007, the city council passed an ordinance banning arrested sex buyers and prostituted persons from returning to areas known for high rates of prostitution activity for 90 days after their arrest, where entrance into designated exclusionary zones would result in the offenders’ arrest for trespassing. Salem community leaders were also involved in the development of the “john school” program that began operating in Portland in 2010, and Salem arrestees may be required to attend.
Street-Level Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:
- Police arrest two for prostitution (1988)
- Battle against prostitution – Plan may slow AIDS (1988)
- Prostitution sting leads to 6 arrests (1988)
- Police stings battle prostitution (1995)
- “It’s Obvious Who’s Out There Trying to Pick Up a Prostitute…”, Salem Statesman Journal, May 9 2001.
- “Untitled,” Salem Statesman Journal, August 7 2004.
- 14 people arrested in prostitution sting (2005)
- “Salem Streetwalkers”, Willamette Live, 2005.
- “Prostitution Sting Leads to 6 Arrests”, Salem Statesman Journal, August 10 2007.
- http://oregonionnews.blogspot.com/2007/08/salem-prostitution-sting-nets-no.html (2007)
- “Salem Police Conduct Prostitution Sting”, Salem News, August 10 2007.
- “Man Robbed after Soliciting Presumed Prostitute’, Salem Statesman Journal, August 22 2007.
Auto Seizure, Letters, Neighborhood Action:
- N. Salem group plots crime-war strategy (1991)
- Letter from police is good way to effectively fight prostitution (1995)
- Council takes step toward a ‘prostitution-free city’ (1996)
- Prostitution sting draws ‘johns’ (2001)
- 17 arrested in prostitution sting (2001)
- Salem prostitution sting results in 19 arrests (2004)
Web-Based Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:
- “Salem Police Conduct Prostitution Sting”, Salem News, July 27 2006.
- “Prostitution Stings Net Multiple Arrests in Two Oregon Cities,” FOX/KPTV-TV 12, August 30 2013.
- “Salem Police Arrest Five in Prostitution Sting”, Salem Statesman Journal, August 30 2013.
- https://pamplinmedia.com/wbi/152-news/gervais-man-one-of-15-arrested-in-salem-prostitution-sting (2014)
- http://katu.com/news/local/10-arrested-in-online-sex-trafficking-sting (2015)
- “Police Arrest 10 in Sex Trafficking Sting,” Salem Statesman Journal, October 16 2015.
- Operation Cross Country IX (2015)
- Operation Cross Country X (2016)
- Operation Cross Country XI (2017)
- https://www.statesmanjournal.com/story/news/crime/2017/10/18/man-arrested-salem-during-national-fbi-child-sex-trafficking-sweep (2017)
Sex Buyer Arrests, Identity Disclosure:
- “Two Arrested as Customers of Sex-for-Pay Place,” Eugene Register-Guard, September 6 1985.
- Police raid lotion studios (1985)
- Police raid 6 Salem businesses (1985)
- Marion County Courts-Soliciting Prostitution Arrest (1987)
- https://kcby.com/news/local/man-arrested-on-charges-of-prostitution-sex-abuse-of-teen (2017)
- https://oregoncrimenews.com/man-arrested-west-salem-park-sex-related-charges-involving-girl-16/ (2017)
- “Police Want to Zone Out Hooking”, Salem Statesman Journal, March 6 2006.
- “‘Crime-Free Zone’ Would Target Salem Prostitution,” Salem Statesman Journal, February 26 2007.
- “Public Hearing Called on ‘Crime-Free Zone’ Ordinance”, Salem Statesman Journal, February 27 2007.
- “Salem City Council to Consider Prostitution-Free Zone Next Week,” Salem Statesman Journal, March 30 2007.
- “Council OKs Effort to Curb Prostitution”, Salem Statesman Journal, April 3 2007.
- “Police Set Crime Prevention District to Eradicate Prostitution”, Salem Statesman Journal, September 23 2007.
Loss of Employment, Identity Disclosure:
- Anti-gang worker arrested (2007)
- https://www.kxly.com/state-detective-resigns-after-prostitution-arrest/ (2013)
- https://www.wweek.com/former-house-speaker-dave-hunt-cited-in-online-sex-trafficking-bust/ (2021)
- https://apnews.com/article/oregon-arrests (2021)
- https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/oregon/articles/2021-05-03/former-oregon-house-speaker-arrested-in-prostitution-sting (2021)
- https://www.statesmanjournal.com/story/news/crime/2017/06/14/man-arrested-following-keizer-underage-prostitution-sting/ (2017)
- https://www.statesmanjournal.com/story/news/crime/2018/04/12/man-sentenced-12-years-underage-prostitution-sting-sex-crimes-hubbard-oregon-joseph-ahre (2018)
- Man gets 12 years for soliciting underage sex (2018)
Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:
- “Confessions of a Teenage Prostitute,” Portland Mercury, September 3 2009.
- “Disturbance in Salem Leads to Prostitution, Sexual Assault Charges”, Salem News, October 25 2010.
- “Two Arrested in Prostitution Operation of Teen in Salem,” Salem Statesman Journal, October 25 2010.
- Men accused of sex trafficking with teen (2010)
- “SWAT Standoff in Salem”, Salem News, March 31 2011.
- “Suspect in Kidnapping of Salem Teen Arraigned,” Salem Statesman Journal, April 12 2011.
- “Trial Begins for Man Accused of Raping, Prostituting Teen Girl,” Salem Statesman Journal, December 6 2011.
- “Pimp Sentenced to 21 Years”, Salem Statesman Journal, December 21 2011.
- “Salem Man Resentenced in Sex Crimes,” Salem Statesman Journal, February 17 2016.
- “Two Men Convicted of Sex Trafficking a Minor,” Salem Statesman Journal, February 19 2016.
- https://www.statesmanjournal.com/story/news/crime/2017/10/18/man-arrested-salem-during-national-fbi-child-sex-trafficking-sweep/776808001/ (2017)
Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- Bill to get buyer aims at prostitution (1973)
- “Massage Parlor Owners Arrested,” Eugene Register-Guard, August 25 1985.
- Woodburn streets have haven for hookers (1985)
- Woodburn prostitution on decline (1985)
- Syphilis epidemic puzzles experts (1987)
- Marion County fights outbreak of syphilis (1987)
- “Lawyer Accused of Recruiting for Prostitution Ring,” Eugene Register-Guard, November 1 1991.
- Bad break makes good advice, woman knows what it takes to stop prostitution (1995)
- “Escort Inquiry Brings Arrests”, Salem Statesman Journal, April 7 2000.
- “3 Arrested in Salem in Online Sex Sting,” Salem Statesman Journal, May 27 2006.
Documented Violence against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area: