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Victorville is a city of approximately 136,000 residents, located near Hesperia in San Bernardino County, California. Prostitution and sex trafficking activity have been well-documented in the Victorville, in 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.
To combat prostitution and sex trafficking in the area, local law enforcement agencies have targeted consumer-level demand for commercial sex, which provides the revenue stream driving all commercial sex and trafficking. Street-level reverse stings have been conducted in the city, and in 2013, a systematic deterrence effort was launched in which the identities of arrested sex buyers were publicized.
In September 2013, deputies from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, supported by officers from the Victorville Police Department, conducted a nine-hour sting using female “investigators” as decoys. Twelve male sex buyers were arrested as a result; all had their names, ages, and hometowns publicized in local media outlets. In November 2015, VPD officers conducted a second street-level reversal that netted the arrests of nine sex buyers whose names were not reported in press.
In June, 2016, a reverse sting in Victorville produced the arrest of eight men, who were charged with soliciting prostitutes. Upon conviction, the names and photographs of the men were later posted in a San Bernardino County District Attorney’s office news release. The publicizing of identities was part of the DA’s office “Stop the John” project, launched in 2013 to reduce the demand for victims of human trafficking by periodically releasing the names and photographs of persons convicted of soliciting prostitution.
In June 2017, an undercover prostitute operation conducted in the area of Seventh Street and Tatum Drive resulted in the arrest of sex buyers in an 8-hour period. Deputies from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Victorville Station conducted the operation aimed at identifying prostitutes and those soliciting prostitutes in order to charge them with those crimes. Deputies working as decoy prostitutes arrested at least 13 male sex buyers, whose names were included in press releases.
In January 2018, a three-day sting operation targeting sex trafficking was conducted in several cities in the county, including Victorville. The County’s Human Trafficking Force recently participated in the fourth annual “Operation Reclaim and Rebuild” enforcement operation, conducted by the Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Task Force. Enforcement operations were conducted Jan. 25-27 throughout the county, with a particular focus on San Bernardino, Ontario and Victorville. The operation ultimately netted 42 arrests for various violations associated with prostitution and other crimes. Of those arrests, one suspect was arrested for felony pimping/pandering, and three additional suspects were arrested and charged with other felonies. During the operation, investigators also identified and successfully rescued 11 adult victims of commercial sex trafficking. The San Bernardino County Human Trafficking Task Force is comprised of investigators from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office, San Bernardino Police Department, Ontario Police Department, San Bernardino Unified School District Police, Office of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
- Victorville Police Department
- San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department
Street-Level Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:
- “Deputies Arrest 12 During Prostitution Sting in Victorville”, San Bernardino Sun, September 8 2013.
- https://www.sbsun.com/deputies-arrest-12-during-prostitution-sting-in-victorville/ (2013)
- “Victorville Prostitution Sting Leads to 10 Arrests,” Victor Valley News, November 20 2015.
- https://www.sbsun.com/dozen-arrested-in-victorville-prostitution-sting/ (2016)
- http://www.vvdailypress.com/news/prostitution-sting-nets-19-arrests-over-eight-hour-period-in-victorville (2017)
- https://www.vvng.com/undercover-prostitution-sting-nets-19-arrests-victorville/ (2017)
- https://247headline.com/victorville-prostitution-operation-nets-arrests-of-13-men-and-6-women/ (2017)
- http://www.vvdailypress.com/county-crackdown-on-sex-trafficking-nets-42-arrests-with-focus-on-victorville-ontario-san-bernardino (2018)
Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:
- “1:45pm”, San Bernardino Sun, March 12 2008.
- “Human Trafficking Suspect ‘Monstah’ Arrested in Victorville; Prostitutes Included Five Females and Two Juveniles, Authorities Say”, Victorville Daily Press, July 25 2014.
- “Victorville Man, Suspected Human Trafficking Ringleader, Arrested”, San Bernardino Sun, July 25 2014.
Documented Violence Against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:
- “Murder Probe at Dead-End Until Confession”, Tuscaloosa News, November 5 1998.
- “The Victims”, Contra Costa Times, November 9 1998.
- “Slaying Suspect Can Give Interviews”, Santa Rosa Press-Democrat, October 20 1999.
- “Man Pleads Not Guilty to Kidnapping”, Victorville Daily Press, April 6 2007.
- “Man Pleads Guilty in Cold Case”, Victorville Daily Press, May 4 2007.
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