Washington County, NE

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

Washington County, Nebraska has a population of about 21,000 and is located in the northern part of the OmahaCouncil Bluffs NE-IA Metropolitan Statistical Area. Its county seat is Blair, a city of less than 10,000 residents.  Several investigations into prostitution and sex trafficking in the county have occurred, with at least two cases involving the arrests of adults for purchasing access to minors for sexual abuse.

In April 2004, Blair Police Department officers arrested and publicized the identities of three men after they were discovered in a Blair motel room with two girls, ages 14 and 15. The minors indicated they had had sexual intercourse with two of the men after they had paid the third for “procuring” the girls. The victims had reportedly been transported by the procurer and a second adult male (later arrested) from the Omaha area. In October 2006, the Washington County Pilot-Tribune & Enterprise reported that three of the men involved had been sentenced to “two years probation for aiding and abetting pandering with a minor;” a fourth was sentenced to “two years intensive supervised probation for two counts of debauching a minor, a Class I misdemeanor.”

In November 2015, law enforcement announced the arrest of an adult male sex buyer on charges of “solicitation of prostitution, a Class IV felony, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor, a Class I misdemeanor,” after the man reportedly paid a 17-year-old girl for “commercial sex acts” (i.e., child sex trafficking) at a local motel. BPD officers were reportedly contacted by the victim’s foster parent, who reported the girl had not returned home from work on time and suggested that the minor had been previously involved in prostitution in Omaha. Although the girl was soon located, officers continued their investigation after her foster parent reported finding $800 in the girl’s room. The minor then revealed to police that she had “met a man through an app on her iPod, and agreed to meet him to have sex for $100” at a Blair motel. She then provided law enforcement with the name of the hotel in question, as well as a description of the sex buyer’s vehicle. The BPD then worked with hotel staff to review surveillance video and identify the man. He was soon apprehended, and had his identity publicized in press.

In June 2018, two people were arrested for solicitation of prostitution at the Boyer Chute wildlife reserve in Washington County.  A Washington County Sheriff’s Office deputy had been dispatched to assist a federal game warden who found an unoccupied vehicle on the refuge. The officer said he walked down a trail to find a man who told the officer he was there to have sex. The officer walked into the trees where he found two women that he had paid and brought to the location to have sex.  The man’s identity was disclosed in news reports.

Though none of the arrests of sex buyers were the result of traditional sting operations, they did involve efforts specifically focused on investigating and arresting sex buyers.  The identities of all arrested sex buyers were made public.

Key Partners

  • Washington County Sheriff’s Office
  • Blair Police Department
State Nebraska
Type County
Population 20969
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