Author: Sgt. Scott Eberle
Date: August 07, 2017 2:24 PM

Marin County Law Enforcement Officers Team up to Fight Human Trafficking

As a part of a joint operation, a team comprised of Officers and Deputies from the San Rafael Police Department, Central Marin Police Authority, and the  Marin County Sherriff’s Office,  joined up to target prostitution-related crimes in San Rafael.  We conducted three different operations on Friday, August 4th, 2017.

During the first operation, the team focused on the demand side of Human Trafficking and targeted men who pay for sex otherwise known “Johns or buyers.”  We put an undercover officer who posed as a sex worker in the Canal Area of San Rafael.  That location has routinely been a hot spot for prostitution and Human Trafficking related crimes.  During the operation, we cited five males. There name are:

Simultaneously we posted three different decoy advertisements in the “Women Seeking Men” section of the adult dating section of an internet escort site. SRPD partnered with the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office Human Exploitation and Trafficking (HEAT) Watch Program to generate automated replies to text messages sent to each decoy advertisement. When the “buyers” would call or text the advertisement, they would receive a text message instantaneously back that read their phone number was now recorded with the San Rafael Police Department and that Prostitution as well as Human Trafficking was illegal and is only thriving because of the demand.  The text also contained an internet link that provided more information about Human Trafficking.   As a result, 365 unique buyers contacted the advertisements in the 10 hour period.  150  of the buyers contacted multiple advertisements, 59 buyers texted multiple ads, 91 buyers called multiple ads. Contacting multiple ads is a sign of high-frequency purchasing at a rate of over 75 times a year.

The third operation we conducted that night was focused on locating victims of Human Trafficking.  Officers would respond to advertisements already posted on escort websites and set up dates to meet the women.  Once contact was made, we investigated if she was a victim of Human Trafficking and offered services to them.  As a result of this operation, we contacted two females from the Stockton Area, one from Contra Costa and one from Vacaville.   All the females were between the ages of 18 and 24, denied being involved with Human Trafficking and declined services that we offered.

The focus of the operation was to promote awareness about Human Trafficking and educate the “Johns” about their conduct.   The San Rafael Police Department is committed to helping eradicate Human Trafficking and will continue to proactively conduct these type of operations. 

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Last Modified: August 07, 2017 5:24 EDT (by Holm)