Scott County, IA
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Scott County is on the eastern edge of Iowa, on the Mississippi River, and has a population of about 174,000. The county seat is the city of Davenport, and is included in the Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, IA-IL Metropolitan Statistical Area. Prostitution and child sex trafficking are documented problems within the county, and the Sheriff’s Office frequently collaborates with municipal police departments and task forces on sex trafficking and prostitution investigations and stings. For example, in September 2014, a group of law enforcement agencies including the Scott County Sheriff’s Office, Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, Bettendorf Police Department, Marion Police Department, and the Quad City Metropolitan Enforcement Group conducted a two-pronged web sting targeting both sex buyers and prostituted women in one of the casino’s hotels. Hotel staff reportedly “volunteered a handful of rooms” to assist with the investigation. The facility was selected because it offered “enhanced surveillance capabilities,” suggesting that recording devices were likely used. According to a press release from the Iowa Department of Public Safety, “undercover officers utilized advertisements on websites popular with individuals engaged in prostitution. When suspects responded to the ads, undercover officers arranged meetings with them at the hotel. At least five male sex buyers were arrested as a result. All of the arrestees’ names, ages, and mugshots were released to the public. Davenport police have also conducted street level reverse stings using undercover female police officers, in an effort to reduce consumer level demand. They have also conducted prostitution stings and disrupted human trafficking rings in the area. The names, ages, and photos of those arrested are released by police to the media.
Not all arrest of sex buyers are the result of proactive sting operations, but are products of investigations or enforcement operations. For example, in April, 2018, a Bettendorf Attorney was arrested and charged with sexual abuse, prostitution and indecent exposure. Court Documents state that the victim, a client being represented by the attorney, was at the attorney’s office when the man exposed himself to her and forced the victim to interact with him. The victim left the office immediately. The victim was contacted by the man in two subsequent phone calls in which he informed her that in lieu of payment for his legal services she could perform sexual services. A search warrant was executed at the attorney’s office, revealing evidence confirming the accounts of the victim. An arrest warrant was issued for the man , who later turned himself in. He was released until his next court appearance under the supervision of the Department of Correctional Services.
- Scott County Sheriff’s Office
- Bettendorf Police Department
- Davenport Police Department
- Iowa Department of Public Safety
- Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation
- Iowa State Patrol
- Quad City Metropolitan Enforcement Group
- Marion Police Department
Web-Based Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:
- “12 Busted in Prostitution Sting at Casino Hotel in Bettendorf”, ABC/WQAD-TV 8, September 5 2014.
- “12 Charged in Undercover Prostitution Sting”, CBS/KCCI-TV 8, September 5 2014.
- “Authorities Arrest a Dozen for Prostitution in Bettendorf”, Quad Cities Times, September 5 2014.
- “Authorities Charge 12 in Quad Cities Prostitution Sting”, Des Moines Register, September 5 2014.
- “Prostitution Sting at Bettendorf Casino Nabs a Dozen”, Radio Iowa, September 5 2014.
- “Around Iowa: Prostitution Sting Nabs a Dozen at Casino”, Des Moines Register, September 6 2014.
- “Police Net Dozen in Prostitution Sting at Bettendorf Casino”, Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier, September 6 2014.
Sex Buyer Arrest, Identity Disclosure:
Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- https://qctimes.com/hat-of-looneys-old-brothels-today (2002)
- https://qctimes.com/prostitution-arrests-made-in-downtown-davenport/ (2006)
- “Pimping, Prostitution Charged”, Quad City Times, May 8 2007.
- https://qconline.com/q-c-prostitution-bigger-than-many-think/ (2013)
- https://qconline.com/1920s-q-c-bootleggers-brothels-operate-unchecked (2014)
- https://www.ourquadcities.com/qc-underground-the-speakeasies-under-davenport/ (2016)
- https://qctimes.com/authorities-arrest-a-dozen-for-prostitution-in-bettendorf (2018)
- https://globegazette.com/sold-at-night-iowa-woman-recounts-being-forced-into-prostitution (2018)
- https://blogs.davenportlibrary.com/woman-of-the-criminal-underworld-part-i/ (2019)
- https://www.wqad.com/davenport-moline-ordinances-would-crack-down-on-illicit-massage-parlors/ (2019)
- https://www.ourquadcities.com/neighbors-complain-of-prostitution-human-trafficking-concerns-at-some-massage-facilities/ (2019)
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