The Dalles, OR
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The Dalles is the largest city of Wasco County, OR, with a population of approximately 16,000 residents. Due to the city’s close proximity to Portland, instances of prostitution and sex trafficking have been well-documented in the city and surrounding areas. This activity and its ancillary crimes have generated residential complaints to local law enforcement. Among the more serious issues associated with the local commercial sex market is child sex trafficking. Focusing on combatting sex trafficking of adults and minors has recently been addressed in the city by local law enforcement. For example, The Dalles Police Department is a member of The Columbia Gorge Major Crime’s Team, which in addition other major crimes, investigates cases of sex trafficking of both adults and minors.
In effort to reduce the demand for prostitution and sex trafficking in the city, local law enforcement has deployed various demand reduction tactics such as web-based reverse stings and identity disclosure. For example, in September of 2021, an online sting operation targeting the demand side of prostitution and sex trafficking was conducted in The Dalles. The Dalles Police Department, collaborated with the Sherman County Sheriff’s Office, the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Police Department, Homeland Security Investigations, the Gilliam County Sheriff’s Office, and the Mid-Columbia Human Trafficking Task Force during the reverse sting. Investigators posted decoy advertisements online for commercial sex. Four male sex buyers were arrested as a result of the operation. The majority of those arrests were local individuals who reside in the area of The Dalles. All of the arrestees were charged with ORS 167.008 (Commercial Sexual Solicitation), a class A misdemeanor. All cases were referred to the Wasco County District Attorney’s Office and Sherman County District Attorney’s Office for review and potential prosecution. About the reverse sting the Dalles Police Chief said,
“This operation, coupled with the Sex Offender Registration compliance sweep conducted on August 26th demonstrates our agencies combined resolve to combat the community problems and harm that result from sexual misconduct and the associated crimes that surround that behavior. I’m incredibly proud of our agency’s ability to work together to keep the region safe. Our efforts in this regard will continue.”
Sex buyers have also been arrested as the result of alternative investigations. For example, in May, 2017, a man was arrested at The Dalles Police Department on charges of two counts of sexual harassment, two counts of third-degree sexual abuse, and three counts of prostitution.
- The Dalles Police Department
- Wasco County Sheriff’s Office
- The Columbia Gorge Major Crime’s Team
Web-Based Reverse Sting, Identity Disclosure:
- https://katu.com/sheriff-5-arrested-in-child-exploitation-sting-operation (2018)
- https://flashalert.net/id/HRSO/116471 (2018)
- https://www.columbiacommunityconnection.com/the-dalles/sex-worker/police/sting/wasco-county (2021)
Sex Buyer Arrest:
Background on Prostitution and Sex Trafficking in the Area:
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