Tulsa, OK

Tactics Used

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

Tulsa is the second-largest city in the state of Oklahoma with a population of approximately 384,000. Prostitution and sex trafficking have been identified by law enforcement as substantial problems in the city, and residents have complained to police about prostitution in certain neighborhoods.

For example, in November 2013, a Tulsa man was sentenced to 17 years in a federal prison for the sex trafficking of children. Prosecutors said the 24-year-old man used social media to lure underage girls into the sex trade.  He was convicted of conspiring to recruit, entice, transport, provide, and obtain girls under the age of 18 knowing and in reckless disregard of the fact that the girls would be caused to engage in commercial sex acts.  One of the victims was just 14 years old.  In January 2013, a man was charged by a federal grand jury with attempted sex-trafficking and using the telephone and internet to facilitate prostitution.  The man was arrested by Tulsa police after a 15-year-old girl met with an undercover officer during a prostitution sting at a local motel.  The officers arranged the meeting through Backpage.com.

In response to such activity, police have targeted consumer-level demand for commercial sex.  The Tulsa Police Department has conducted periodic reverse stings, and the courts can impose geographic restrictions (SOAP orders) on the men arrested for soliciting. In September 2014, for example, a john was arrested at a Tulsa motel after arranging to pay for sex with what he thought was a 13-year-old girl (but was, in fact, a TPD undercover officer). Following the sting, the man’s name and arrest photo were released to the public.  Neighborhood action focused on the buyers has also occurred in the city, and convicted johns sentence may include community service. Oklahoma law prohibits people from engaging in prostitution under 21 O.S. 1029, which addresses both prostitution and solicitation of prostitution in the same manner under the same statute. Both prostitution and solicitation are misdemeanors. The penalties for prostitution and solicitation include a jail term of 30 days to one year and a fine of up to $2,500 on the first offense. The fines increase with subsequent convictions, and the court may also mandate 40 to 80 hours of community service.

Key Partners

  • Tulsa Police Department

Key Sources

State Oklahoma
Type City
Population 384037
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