West Plains, MO

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

West Plains is a city that serves as the government seat of Howell County, Missouri. Its population is approximately 12,000. Prostitution activity has been documented within the county, and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates results in complaints to law enforcement agencies. Consumer level demand provides the revenue stream for all prostitution and sex trafficking, and has therefore been targeted by local law enforcement agencies as a strategy for prevention and response. Demand reduction tactics used in the town include the arrest of sex buyers and the public disclosure of their identities. For example, in October, 2022, a West Plains man was charged with patronizing prostitution from a minor following a grand jury indictment earlier that month.  He  was originally arrested in March, 2022 after soliciting a 17-year old girl at a business on West Broadway. The minor told authorities that a man had offered her $200 for sex. He was detained a short time after the incident on Washington Avenue and had told the arresting officer that he attempted to solicit a female for sexual services and said he knew she was a prostitute. After being told her age and stating that he “may have told her he had $200 to pay her,” he concluded the interview stating he needed a lawyer. On October 3, a grand jury indictment charged him with Patronizing Prostitution of a person over the age of 14 and under the age of 18, and he was released on a $5,000 surety bond. He was arraigned at the Howell County Courthouse.

Key Partners

  • West Plains Police Department
  • Howell County Prosecutor’s Office
State Missouri
Type City
Population 12290
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