Scott County is on the eastern edge of Iowa, on the Mississippi River, and has a population of about 172,000. The county seat is Davenport, and is included in the Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, IA-IL Metropolitan Statistical Area. Prostitution and child sex trafficking are documented problems withing 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 johns 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.
- 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 and Shaming:
- “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.
Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “Pimping, Prostitution Charged”, Quad City Times, May 8 2007.
- https://qctimes.com/authorities-arrest-a-dozen-for-prostitution-in-bettendorf (2018)