Storm Lake is a city of just over 10,000 residents, located in Buena Vista County east of Sioux City, Iowa. Prostitution activity has been reported in the community in recent years. On at least two occasions, local law enforcement have uncovered commercial sex rings while responding to reports of related robberies and sexual assaults.
In an effort to reduce demand for prostitution, the Storm Lake Police Department has conducted at least one investigation specifically targeting sex buyers. In March 2015, the SLPD conducted a reverse sting using “social media sites” that resulted in the arrest of nine johns. The men were arrested after corresponding with a female undercover officer and agreeing to meet the decoy at a Storm Lake motel. In their efforts, SLPD officers were assisted by members of the Buena Vista County Attorney’s Office. Following their arrests, the offenders’ names and mugshots were released to the public, and publicized by some (but not all) local media outlets.
In 2016, six men were arrested during a prostitution investigation. The Storm Lake Police Department conducted an investigation into online solicitation of prostitution called “Operation Fall Fling.” Officers posed as prostituted persons on the internet, and several men allegedly arraigned to meet for purchased sex at a Storm Lake motel. All six men were charged with Prostitution, and were booked into the Buena Vista County Jail. Police reportedly seized over $2500 in cash during the investigation.
In March, 2021, a man has been arrested and charged in Storm Lake for soliciting sex from a 16-year-old male. The man surrendered to Storm Lake police and was booked into the Buena Vista County Jail on a felony charge of prostitution and supplying alcohol to a minor. Storm Lake police began an investigation on Jan. 31, when they were called to a resort for a disputed room charge. They met with four males ages 16-20, and eventually learned that the suspect offered to pay for a hotel room and alcohol in exchange for sex from the 16-year-old.
- Storm Lake Police Department
- Buena Vista County Attorney’s Office
- Web-Based Reverse Stings with Shaming:
- “9 Arrested in Storm Lake, IA Prostitution Sting,” NBC/KTIV-TV 4, March 9 2015.
- “9 Arrested in Storm Lake Prostitution Sting,” Sioux City Journal, March 9 2015.
- “Nine Arrested in Storm Lake Prostitution Sting,” ABC/KCRG-TV 9, March 9 2015.
- “Operation ‘Bad Connection’ Nets 9 Arrests in Iowa Prostitution Sting,” CBS/KEYC-TV 12, March 9 2015.
- “Police Arrest 9 in Prostitution Investigation,” Des Moines Register, March 9 2015.
- “Prostitution Social Media Sting Nets Nine Arrests in SL,” Storm Lake Pilot Tribune, March 9 2015.
- “Storm Lake Police Arrest 9 in Prostitution Sting,” ABC/KCAU-TV 9, March 9 2015.
- https://www.desmoinesregister.com/2015/11/04/6-arrested-osceola-prostitution-sting (2015)
- https://bigcountry1077.com/news/170071-prostitution-solicitation-arrests/ (2016)
- https://siouxcityjournal.com/man-charged-with-prostitution-in-storm-lake (2021)
- Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “Letter from the Editor; Hookers, Cops, and the Advertising Biz,” Storm Lake Pilot Tribune, February 28 2008.
- “Crime Watch: Naked Woman Leads to Storm Lake, Iowa, Prostitution Arrests,” Sioux City Journal, May 3 2013.
- “Police: Man Arranged Storm Lake, Iowa, Prostitution,” Sioux City Journal, May 6 2013.
- “Human Trafficking: Local, State, Fed Officials Vigilant to Free Teen Prostitutes,” Storm Lake Pilot Tribune, February 26 2015.
- Documented Violence against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area: