Washington County, UT

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 is located in southwest Utah.  St. George is the county seat and largest city, with approximately 191,000 residents.  Prostitution and sex trafficking (include child sex trafficking) are problems known to occur in the county.  To reduce local commercial sex activity, county and municipal agencies collaborate to conduct occasional reverse stings, both at street-level and using the web. In November 2010, one such operation resulted in the arrest of nine johns. Following reverse stings in October 2013 and June 2014, the SGPD and Washington County Drug Task Force released the names and mugshots of all of the men they arrested.

In February, 2015, seven men were arrested during a reverse sting by St. George Police and the Department of Homeland Security.  They were each charged with class A misdemeanor patronizing a prostitute, according to information filed in 5th District Court by the Washington County Attorney’s Office. The men responded to an advertisement soliciting sex acts for money placed on backpage.com by a confidential informant, according to the probable cause statements filed by St. George Police in support of the arrests.  Each of the men negotiated sex acts in exchange for money in text messages with the confidential informant, according to court documents, and were arrested after meeting at a prearranged location and paying between $100 and $150 for the sex acts they had discussed. The men were transported and booked into the Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility. The identities of the sex buyers were publicly released.

Key Partners

  • Washington County Drug Task Force
  • Washington County Attorney’s Office
  • St. George Police Department
  • Department of Homeland Security
  • Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility

Key Sources

Reverse Stings:

Web Stings:

Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

State Utah
Type County
Population 191226
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