St. George, UT

Tactics Used

Reverse stings
Shaming
Auto seizure
Community service
Public education
Neighborhood action
SOAP orders
John school
Letters
Cameras
Web stings
License suspension

St. George is a city of approximately 76,000 residents, located in southwest Utah’s Washington County.  Prostitution and sex trafficking (include child sex trafficking) are problems known to exist in the city, and to reduce local commercial sex activity, the St. George Police Department has conducted several reverse stings both at street-level and using the web. In November 2010, one such operation resulted in the arrest of nine johns, whose names and other identifying information were not released to the public. By contrast, following reverse stings in October 2013 and June 2014, the SGPD and Washington County Drug Task Force released the names and mugshots of all of the men they arrested.

The fight against child sex trafficking and exploitation continued in St. George, with arrests being made in September 2020. The operation took place after community members made reports to law enforcement of online advertisements promoting the trafficking of children. The investigation was led by the Dixie State University Police Department with supporting team members from the St. George Police Department, FBI, and Homeland Security. After being made aware of the advertisement, law enforcement set up a web-based reverse sting with the 135 offenders who had reached out. Ultimately, 12 individuals were arrested, ranging in ages from 19 to over 70. As in previous cases, the names and ages of the perpetrators were released to the public in addition to the charges they face. Looking towards the future, law enforcement thanked the community for being so diligent and urged them to remember that child sex trafficking is still a prevalent issue in the county.

Key Partners

  • St. George Police Department
  • Washington County Drug Task Force
  • Dixie State University Police Department
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Homeland Security

Key Sources

State Utah
Type City
Population 71161
Location
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