Thousand Oaks, 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

Thousand Oaks is a city of approximately 126,000 residents, located near Simi Valley in southeastern Ventura County, California. Residents and local law enforcement have reported substantial problems related to commercial sex activity in the city, particularly surrounding indoor prostitution. For example, in 2001, a Ventura County couple was charged with felony pimping and pandering after vice detectives uncovered an alleged prostitution operation at a Thousand Oaks apartment. Police said the operation was earning up to $25,000 per month, and that more than 100 men had responded to Internet ads during the prior six months for “sensual massages” costing between $160 and $320 per session.

A case of sex trafficking was recorded in the city in October 2009 when the Thousand Oaks Police Department, with the support of the East County Sexual Assault Unit, recovered a 16-year-old female from a local hotel room after officers discovered ads offering sex with the minor listed on Craigslist. In recent years, officers with the TOPD focused their attention on suspected illegal sex sales occurring in some of the city’s many massage parlors and other adult-oriented businesses. In 2008, media outlets reported there were 16 licensed massage parlors in the city. By the end of 2013, there were 47, the majority on or near Thousand Oaks Boulevard. Between 2006 and 2012, TOPD officers conducted several sting operations targeting the employees of these businesses, and confirmed that some of the businesses were providing a base for prostitution.

In March 2022, five suspects in a statewide sex-trafficking ring were sentenced after first being arrested in 2019, according to the California Attorney General’s Office. The investigation began in 2016 when Ventura County detectives identified a sex trafficking victim at a Thousand Oaks motel. Over time, the investigation grew to involve 21 different agencies at the local, county, and state level, with charges ultimately being filed in Santa Clara County. The five individuals were suspected of using to list trafficking victims for sex and forcing them to commit sex acts at several locations across the state. Over a dozen sex trafficking victims were contacted by authorities as a result of the investigation.

While most local efforts to contain prostitution-related problems in Thousand Oaks continue to target prostituted women over male sex buyers, there has been at least one effort to arrest a sex buyer. In 2012, Ventura County Sheriff’s Office deputies conducted an “ad hoc reverse sting.” After responding to an advertisement offering commercial sex, VCSO deputies arrested a woman in prostitution. When prostituted woman’s phone rang, a female deputy with the VCSO picked up and spoke with a potential sex buyer, police said. Pretending to be the prostituted woman they had just arrested, the deputy arranged to meet the sex buyer and exchange $150 for sex. The Thousand Oaks resident arrived at the room with a recent ATM receipt and $150 in his pocket, according to police. He was promptly arrested and had his identity released to local news outlets.

Key Partners

  • Ventura County Sheriff’s Office
  • Thousand Oaks Police Department
  • East County Sexual Assault Unit

Key Sources

Reverse Sting, Identity Disclosure:

Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

State California
Type City
Population 125754
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