Walnut Creek is a city in the greater San Francisco Bay area, about 15 miles east of Oakland, California in Contra Costa County. The city has a population of approximately 64,000. Prostitution is an established problem in the area, including indoor prostitution in storefront brothels. Cases of child sex trafficking have also been reported.
In their efforts to reduce prostitution activity, the Walnut Creek Police Department has conducted reverse stings targeting johns. For example, in July 2009, WCPD officers launched a web-based reversal after receiving “reports of continuing problems with prostitution and other crimes at local motels.” Five men were arrested as a result of the investigation; although the logistical details of the operation were not reported, one media source reported that undercover officers identified the johns after being “contacted via the Internet and phone by [the] suspects in the lead-up to the sting.” The men’s names were not released to the public; however, their ages and hometowns were covered by some press outlets.
In February, 2020 the results from the statewide “Operation Reclaim and Rebuild” were announced. The week-long operation was led by the Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Task Force and 70 participating federal, state and local law enforcement agencies (including the Walnut Creek Police Department) and task forces from across California. In addition to rescuing and serving victims of sexual slavery and human trafficking and arresting then prosecuting their captors, Operation Reclaim and Rebuild also seeks to disrupt the demand for vulnerable victims by targeting their customers. Investigators focused enforcement operations wherever the trafficking of human beings took place and included street-level and internet-based operations. The operation deployed specially trained cyber detectives who posed as vulnerable teenagers and interacted with suspects on social media, traffickers and customers who sought to exploit and sexually abuse children. Operation Reclaim and Rebuild resulted in 266 male sex buyers arrested for the charge of Solicitation, as well as the recovery of 76 adult and 11 minor victims and the arrest of 27 suspected traffickers. In the press release announcing these results, the head of the Task Force said, “To the Johns: Purchasing commercial sex is illegal and buying sex adds to the exploitation of those involved.” Downloadable Material: Talking Points and Slides
- Walnut Creek Police Department
- Web-Based Reverse Stings:
- Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:
- “Sirens; Oakland; Walnut Creek Woman Charged with Pimping Girl,” Contra Costa Times, January 13 1986.
- Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “Trial Testimony East Bay ‘Escort’ Says Fees Started at $100,” San Francisco Chronicle, August 8 1985.
- “Walnut Creek / Four Women Arrested in Massage Raid,” San Francisco Chronicle, October 12 2000.
- “Three Arrested in Sex-Parlor Sting, Officers from a Dozen Agencies Are Part of Raids on Two Walnut Creek Businesses That They Have Been Watching for Months,” Contra Costa Times, April 5 2002.
- “Sting Hurts Neighboring Businesses, Deli, Nail Salon Owners Say They Have Lost Customers Since Shops Were Closed in Prostitution Raid,” Contra Costa Times, June 6 2002.
- “Tip Leads to Four Prostitution Arrests,” Walnut Creek Journal, August 15 2002.
- “Not Guilty Plea in Pimping, Drug Charges,” Contra Costa Times, April 8 2005.
- “Five Nabbed in Prostitution Sting,” Fremont-Newark Argus, August 19 2006.
- “Same Name but Wrong Address, Spa Owner Says She Is Dealing with the Fallout of a Prostitution Sting at a Walnut Creek Facility,” Contra Costa Times, May 23 2007.
- “City Mulls Massage Ordinance, Faced with Increasing Prostitution Reports and Police Staffing Shortages, Walnut Creek May Require Permits,” Contra Costa Times, October 14 2007.
- “Walnut Creek Council Considers Massage Ordinance,” Oakland Tribune, October 16 2007.
- “Walnut Creek Massage Business Alleged Front for Prostitution,” Contra Costa Times, March 7 2008.
- “Sheriff’s Office Makes Arrest at Walnut Creek Massage Parlor,” Oakland Tribune, October 24 2008.