Stanislaus County, CA

Tactics Used

Auto Seizure
Buyer Arrests
Community Service
Employment Loss
Identity Disclosure
IT Based Tactics
John School
License Suspension
Neighborhood Action
Public Education
Reverse Stings
SOAP Orders
Web Stings

Stanislaus County is located in the Central Valley area of California, and has approximately 553,000 residents. Prostitution has been a formidable problem in the area for decades, with recent activities concentrated in the city of Modesto, Turlock, and surrounding towns and unincorporated areas. Child sex trafficking is also well-documented within the county. Commercial sex sales are said to reach a pinnacle during the region’s harvest season. To address the issue, the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department (SCSD) has incorporated the use of several demand-driven tactics to identify and apprehend sex buyers. In their efforts, the SCSD has routinely conducted street-level reverse stings, at times collaborating with officers from the Modesto Police Department. Operations have typically utilized undercover female officers who pose as decoys. In January 2011, a single sting resulted in the arrest of 26 male sex buyers in just over 10 hours at a South Modesto hotel. As a deterrent to other potential sex buyers, the SCPD released the men’s names and photos to the local media.

In May 2018, Stanislaus County Sheriff’s deputies made 11 arrests in Turlock in a planned operation targeting online human trafficking. The arrests were made over several hours from Friday evening to about 3 a.m. Saturday at a motel on Walnut Road. Sheriff’s investigators in Patterson had learned of a social media platform being used for human trafficking. They used the site to set up meetings at the motel and made a series of arrests over one night. The 11 men and women were arrested on charges of prostitution and solicitation, pimping, and a variety of warrants and drug charges. The operation was led by deputies in Patterson with assists from deputies in Waterford as well as officers from the Turlock Police Department.

The local Stanislaus County portion of the 2019 edition of the annual statewide “Operation Rebuild and Reclaim” resulted in the arrests of 33 individuals over a three-day period. The operation was conducted at motels in Modesto, Westley, and Turlock. From Thursday through Saturday, law enforcement officers contacted various websites commonly used for the purposes of prostitution and set up meetings. The identities of the arrested sex buyers were disclosed in news releases. Agencies participating in the operation included the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department, Turlock Police Department, Patterson Police Services, Riverbank Police Services, Waterford Police Services, Stanislaus Probation Department, Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office, and Haven Women’s Center of Stanislaus.

In Stanislaus County, “Operation Reclaim & Rebuild” for 2021 was conducted Jan. 28 and Jan. 29. The Turlock Police Department took part in the operation, which resulted in 13 of the 64 arrests for human trafficking and other offenses within the county. One arrest was of a man who solicited an undercover officer who was posing as an underage female for sexual acts. Other local agencies that participated were Patterson Police Services, Waterford Police Services, State Parole, Stanislaus County Probation, CSU Stanislaus Police Department, California Highway Patrol, Los Banos Police Department, Oakdale Police Department, Tracy Police Department, Stanislaus District Attorney’s Office, Homeland Security Investigations, Newman Police Department, Women’s Haven and Stanislaus County Adult Detention Deputies. Over sixty members from these agencies and departments worked together to combat Human Trafficking within Stanislaus County.  In a similar operation in January, 2023, 58 arrests were made.

Key Partners

Key Sources

Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

Background on Prostitution and Sex Trafficking in the Area:

State California
Type County
Population 552999
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