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Wellington is a statutory town in Colorado, within Larimer County, and has a population of approximately 12,000 residents. It is located near the Wyoming border north of Denver and is part of the Fort Collins metropolitan area. For at least two decades, instances of prostitution, particularly those arranged online and conducted within city hotels and adult-oriented businesses, have been reported throughout Larimer county. Among the more serious issues associated with the city’s commercial sex market are commercial sexual exploitation of children and child sex trafficking. For example, in 2021 LCSO investigators, along with members of the LCSO Strategic Enforcement Unit, Homeland Security Investigations, and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, conducted a joint sting operation in two different locations in Larimer County focused on apprehending individuals who were actively seeking to sexually exploit minors in exchange for money. The operation was conducted over a period of two days, from December 1 to December 3, and resulted in the arrest of four men on charges of Internet Luring of a Child w/Intent for Sexual Contact or Exploitation, in addition to other related charges. The identities and images of arrested offenders were released by the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office.
Efforts to reduce the demand for commercial sex in the area have been documented. For example, in June 2019, an operation intended to reduce the demand for prostitution and sex trafficking in Larimer County led to the arrest of eight men who were allegedly patronizing prostituted women. The Larimer County Sheriff’s Office coordinated eight arrests along the Interstate 25 corridor, issuing citations for eight men charged with patronizing a prostitute, a Class 1 misdemeanor, and soliciting for prostitution, a Class 3 misdemeanor. The operation took place between Loveland and Wellington, with the Fort Collins Police Services and human trafficking-focused nonprofit Free Our Girls collaborating on the operation. The LCSO said that it was the first reverse sting operation of 2019, and police seized $1,290 during the operation. The identities of the arrested men were included in the press statements.
Reverse Sting, Identity Disclosure:
- https://www.9news.com/article/news/8-men-arrested-in-larimer-county-prostitution-sting (2019)
- https://www.reporterherald.com/8-men-arrested-in-prostitution-sting-along-i-25 (2019)
Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:
- “Western Empire; Front Range; Stepfather Faces New Sex Charges,” Denver Post, January 3 1996.
- “Molester Gets 56-Year Term,” Rocky Mountain News, September 14 1996.
- “Western Empire; Northern Colorado; Molester Gets 56-Year Term,” Denver Post, September 17 1996.
- Police arrest man for soliciting prostitution (1997)
- “Warrant Issued in Child-Sex Case,” Fort Collins Coloradoan, September 14 2004.
- “Suspect Arrested for Allegedly Soliciting for Child Prostitution,” Fort Collins Coloradoan, November 23 2011.
- “Man Set to Enter Plea in Child Solicitation Case,” Fort Collins Coloradoan, January 20 2012.
- “Fort Collins Man Accepts Plea Deal in Child-Prostitution Solicitation Case,” Fort Collins Coloradoan, June 4 2012.
- “Couple Admits Guilt to Arranging Prostitution at Fort Collins Massage Parlor,” Fort Collins Coloradoan, November 1 2013.
- “Fort Collins Police Investigate Alleged Sex Trafficking Ring in Massage Parlors,” CBS/KCNC-TV 4, November 2 2013.
- “Fort Collins Stabbing Suspect Jailed for Sex Trafficking,” Fort Collins Coloradoan, April 8 2015.
- http://www.9news.com/video/news/crime/about-that-viral-post-about-foco-sex-trafficking (2018)
- https://www.westword.com/news/colorado-human-trafficking-and-whether-prostitution-is-victimless (2019)
- Owners of Fort Collins Chinese Foot Massage & Touch of Heaven Massage Arrested on Pimping Charges (2020)
- Internet Luring Sting Operation (2021)
- https://kgab.com/cheyenne-man-arrested-in-colorado-computer-child-sex-sting (2021)
- https://cbi.colorado.gov/sites/cbi/files/54_child_predator_sting_operation_21.pdf (2021)
Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “Cops Actions Questioned in 3 Prostitution Arrests; Allegations of Sexual Contact Lead to Investigation,” Denver Post, April 11 1996.
- “Cops Strayed in Parlor Probe; Loveland Suspends 3 for Sexual Contacts during Investigation of Prostitution Case,” Rocky Mountain News, April 11 1996.
- “Western Empire; Front Range; Women Charged in Sex with Cops,” Denver Post, May 2 1996.
- “Questionable Judgments,” Reading Eagle, September 13 1996.
- “Owner of Spa Faces Pimping Charges, Police Say Windsor Woman, Workers Offered Sex Acts to Customers,” Loveland Daily Reporter-Herald, November 4 2008.
- “Police Target Fort Collins Corridor,” Denver Post, August 6 2012.
- “Longmont, Fort Collins Police Investigate Suspected Prostitution at Massage Businesses,” Longmont Daily Times-Call, April 11 2013.
- “Couple Arrested, Accused of Running ‘House of Prostitution’ in Fort Collins Following Massage Parlor Raids,” Fort Collins Coloradoan, June 17 2013.
- “Deputies Investigating Prostitution Report at Fort Collins Hotel,” Fort Collins Coloradoan, September 10 2013.
- “Manager Accused of Pimping Fort Collins Massage Parlor Employees,” Fort Collins Coloradoan, October 31 2013.
- “Woman Convicted of Prostitution Sues Fort Collins after Denial of MMJ License,” Fort Collins Coloradoan, December 16 2013.
- https://www.coloradoan.com/story/opinion/opinion-letters-editor-suicide-rates-prostitution-stings (2018)
Local Prostitution Ordinance: