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Scappoose is a city of approximately 7,300 residents in Northwestern Oregon, located just north of Portland, in Columbia County, OR. Although prostitution and sex trafficking are not necessarily widespread problems in the area, instances of their occurrence have been documented. For example, in 2013, a man wanted in a sex trafficking case in Seattle, WA, was arrested by the Longview police and the U.S. Marshals Service at the Amtrak station in Kelso, WA. The suspect had allegedly attempted to kidnap a 23-year-old Seattle woman in January 2012 and threatened to kill her or sex traffic her. Police arrested the suspect for kidnapping, robbery, and attempted human trafficking. According to reports, the woman escaped by jumping from a moving car and suffered a severe head injury. Among the more serious issues associated with the area’s commercial sex market is child sex trafficking.
The Scappoose Police Department has been known to arrest sex buyers and sex traffickers through alternative investigations and routine traffic stops. For example, in April 2016, Scappoose police officers conducted a routine traffic stop on a vehicle on Columbia River Highway for defective lighting. Upon investigation further, officers found that the vehicle was not insured and additionally, heroin needles and other drug related items were present in the vehicle at the time of the stop. When police stopped the car two individuals were inside the vehicle: a driver, a 39-year-old Portland man, and a passenger, a 40-year-old Portland woman. Officers interviewed the individuals and found that they had made a commercial sex agreement and were driving to St. Helens to meet a potential sex buyer. The male suspect was arrested on charges of promoting prostitution and possession of heroin. He was lodged at the Columbia County Jail on $45,000 bail and the female suspect was arrested on charges of prostitution, possession of heroin, and failure to register as a sex offender. She was lodged at the Columbia County Jail on $42,500 bail. Their identities were included in reports by local media outlets.
Sex Buyer Arrest, Identity Disclosure:
- https://www.thechronicleonline.com/news/traffic-stop-results-in-prostitution-arrest (2016)
- https://pamplinmedia.com/two-busted-with-heroin-on-way-to-prostitution-gig (2016)
Background on Local Prostitution and Sex Trafficking:
- Teacher pleads innocent to soliciting prostitute at rest area (2002)
- Rainier teacher arrested in rest area prostitution sting (2002)
- Former elementary school teacher sentenced for patronizing prostitute (2003)
- Ex-Rainier band teacher may return to classroom (2004)
- “Sex Trafficking Suspect Arrested in Kelso,” Longview Daily News, January 23 2013.
- https://www.wenatcheeworld.com/news/northwest/sex-trafficking-suspect-arrested-in-kelso (2013)
- https://www.oregonlive.com/oregon_lawmakers_target_pimps.html (2013)
- https://www.oregonlive.com/elizabeth_hovde_what_does_it_t.html (2013)
- https://www.justice.gov/usao-wdwa/pr/kelso-man-sentenced-25-years-prison-production-child-pornography (2014)
- https://tdn.com/news/local/woman-arrested-on-suspicion-of-prostitution (2016)
- https://www.crewjanci.com/st-helens-man-arrested-police-find-drunk-teen-back-seat/ (2017)
- https://tdn.com/two-longview-men-accused-of-inappropriate-contact-with-minors (2018)
- https://www.thechronicleonline.com/news_paid/feds-crack-down-on-human-trafficking-in-oregon (2019)