Tumwater, WA

Tactics Used

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

Tumwater is a city of about 23,000 residents, located within Thurston County, Washington.  It is located roughly 30 miles south of Seattle, past Tacoma and the southern end of Puget Sound, along the Interstate 5 corridor.  Prostitution and sex trafficking activity have been well-documented in the city and surrounding communities, and in unincorporated areas of the county.  This activity and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates results in complaints to law enforcement agencies from residents and businesses. Among the more serious problems associated with commercial sex in the area include child sex trafficking. Examples include the following: In 2008, Tumwater police raided a suspected brothel, arresting five women ages 19 to 34, after two of the women agreed to have intercourse and perform other sex acts with an undercover officer in exchange for $440. The suspect was arrested on suspicion of a felony charge of leading organized crime, and forwarded the case to the Thurston County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.  During the four-month investigation, Tumwater police and the Washington State Patrol conducted video surveillance of men going in and out of the apartment for short periods. In March 2012 two women were arrested for prostitution while working at a Foot Massage business on Martin Way (they entered not guilty pleas in Thurston County District Court).  In November 2014, two men were arrested by the Washington State Patrol in Tumwater for trafficking two runaways, and were held in the Thurston County Jail for third-degree child rape and first-degree promoting prostitution.  Detectives from the WPS Missing and Exploited Children’s Task Force began investigating the two men after another state agency reported that two runaways were being trafficked for sex.  One of the victims, a 15-year-old girl, said that the suspects had repeatedly sexually assaulted her, and that one of them tried to “pimp her out.” Undercover detectives found and arrested the two suspects in Tumwater and also found another 16-year-old runaway, who corroborated the first victim’s statement.

Key Partners

  • Thurston County Sheriff’s Office
  • Olympia Police Department
  • Tumwater Police Department
  • Washington State Patrol
    • Missing and Exploited Children’s Task Force
  • Thurston County District Court
  • Thurston County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office
  • U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington

Key Sources

Web-Based Reverse Stings, Shaming:

  • https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/22-arrested-western-washington-child-predator-sting (2016)
  • https://www.theolympian.com/news/local/crime/article102867437.html (2016)
  • https://www.kiro7.com/news/local/21-arrested-in-thurston-county-child-sex-abuse-sting/447979252 (2016)
  • http://www.mi-reporter.com/news/21-people-including-one-islander-arrested-in-thurston-county-child-sex-abuse-sting/ (2016)
  • http://komonews.com/news/local/state-patrol-arrests-20-men-1-woman-in-child-sex-sting (2016)
  • https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/crime/detectives-bust-21-sex-predator-suspects-in-thurston-county-sting-operation/ (2016)
  • https://www.king5.com/article/news/crime/wsp-sex-sting-busts-21-accused-of-wanting-sex-with-children/281-321966343 (2016)
  • https://www.theolympian.com/news/local/crime/article102867437.html (2017)
  • http://www.chronline.com/crime/man-arrested-in-tumwater-child-sex-sting-to-spend-at/article_fe028150-29d9-11e7-9036-933d9c289f12.html (2017)

Background on Local Prostitution and Sex Trafficking:

  • https://slog.thestranger.com/2008/04/brothel_busted_near_olympia (2008)
  • https://www.theolympian.com/news/local/crime/article25311205.html (2012)
  • https://www.theolympian.com/news/local/crime/article26071624.html (2014)
  • https://www.theolympian.com/news/local/crime/article26092216.html (2014)
  • http://www.kentreporter.com/news/police-arrest-six-people-for-running-prostitution-ring/ (2017)
State Washington
Type City
Population 22973
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