Santa Fe is a city of approximately 68,000 residents, located in Santa Fe County, in Northern New Mexico. Prostitution and sex trafficking activity have been documented in the city and surrounding communities, although street prostitution is not considered by police to be a prevalent or visible problem. Commercial sex facilitated by websites or social media applications are more common in Santa Fe. Ancillary crimes committed in association with commercial sex result in complaints to law enforcement agencies from residents and businesses. Among the more serious problems is child sex trafficking.
To combat prostitution and sex trafficking in the area, local law enforcement agencies have targeted individuals seeking to buy sex, particularly those seeking sex with children. For example, in February, 2012, Santa Fe police arrested a man who arrived at an arranged time and location to have sex with a 15-year-old girl. The suspect was a state worker and married father of five, who had been chatting with a girl who he thought was 15, but was actually an undercover decoy with Santa Fe Police Department’s Crimes Against Children Unit. The man was charged with two counts of child solicitation by electronic device, one count of aggravated battery on a police officer and five counts of aggravated assault on a police officer. That same month, at least four other men were arrested on charges of soliciting a minor during the department’s month-long sting operation, and a total of 10 arrest warrants were issued for men suspected of soliciting sex from minors.
In 2017, a man was arrested and charged one count of sexual exploitation of children by prostitution for offering $20 in exchange for oral sex with a 13-year-old girl. The man worked as an assistant bus driver for Santa Fe Public Schools. The 13-year-old girl reported that the man had propositioned her and asked her if she had any friends about 12 years of age with whom he could perform oral sex in exchange for $20, according to a police report.
- Santa Fe Police Department
Reverse Sting, Shaming:
- https://www.koat.com/article/report-police-investigate (2012)
- http://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/online-ad-led-to-arrest-in-child-sex-sting (2012)
- https://www.abqjournal.com/170744/online-sex-suspect-gets-1year-probation.html (2013)
- http://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/police-child-sex-solicitation-suspect-says-he-works-for-schools (2017)
Background on Local Prostitution and Sex Trafficking:
- http://www.nbcnews.com/id/43523163/ns/us_news-crime_and_courts/t/police-profs-ran-site-esteemed-men-get-sex/ (2011)
- https://www.denverpost.com/2011/06/23/ex-head-of-univ-n-m-arrested-in-prostitution-sting/ (2011)
- http://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/sting-operation-targets-local-prostitutes/article (2012)