Springdale is a city of approximately 70,000 residents, located in Washington and Benton Counties in northwest Arkansas. Prostitution activity, particularly transactions arranged online, has been reported for several years. On multiple occasions, the Springdale Police Department has stated that it has fielded calls for help from both sex buyers and sellers who have been robbed during prostitution transactions. At least one case of child sex trafficking has also been documented.
Although reports of demand-reduction efforts remain limited, officers with the neighboring Fort Smith Police Department indicated that SPD officers conduct periodic reverse stings when interviewed for the National Assessment Survey.
In late 2015, the Benton County Sheriff’s Office conducted an ad hoc reverse sting after being contacted by an individual who reported that a local resident and lawyer had solicited her for commercial sex acts in exchange for legal services. Law enforcement then worked with the woman to field texts from the john, who arranged to meet the woman in Springdale. He was arrested and charged with “suspicion of patronizing a prostitute and two misdemeanor charges of unlawful possession of a firearm,” and had his identity publicized in press.
- Springdale Police Department
- Benton County Sheriff’s Office
- National Assessment Survey Interviews with Fort Smith Law Enforcement
- Investigations Resulting in the Arrest and Shaming of Attempted Sex Buyers:
- Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:
- “Police: Fayetteville Man Pimped Runaway Teen He Met on Facebook,” CBS/KFSM-TV 5, January 30 2014.
- “Man Accused of Trafficking; Police Say Gibson Was Promoting Prostitution of a Juvenile,” Springdale Morning News, January 31 2014.
- “Man Held on Suspicion of Sex Trafficking; Police Say Gibson Promoted Prostitution of Girl in County’s First Charge of Its Kind,” Rogers Morning News, January 31 2014.
- “Pimp for Girl, 16, Gets 12 Years,” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, January 29 2016.
- https://5newsonline.com/2019/03/07/springdale-man-arrested-on-prostitution-charges-involving-a-minor/ (2019)
- Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “‘Escorts’ Something New for Northwest Arkansas,” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, May 11 1996.
- “Prostitution Sting of Escort Service Nets Arrests of 5,” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, August 26 2003.
- “Prairie Grove Residents Arrested in Connection with Prostitution Investigation,” Washington County Enterprise-Leader, December 22 2010.
- Documented Violence against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:
- “Escort Services’ Growth Concern for Area’s Police; Clients, Workers Said to Be at Risk,” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, August 15 2005.
- “Escort Services Pose Danger to Clients, Workers, Officers Say,” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, August 15 2005.
- “Suspects Arrested in Craigslist Armed Robbery Case,” CBS/KFSM-TV 5, December 6 2012.
- “Two Arrests Made in Robberies,” Springdale Morning News, December 7 2012.
- “Prostitute’s Story Leads to Arrests in Craigslist Robberies,” CBS/KFSM-TV 5, December 11 2012.
- “Two More Arrested in Craigslist Robberies,” CBS/KFSM-TV 5, December 11 2012.