In just a few weeks’ time, an astonishing pattern of misconduct has been uncovered in the Oakland Police Department that might shock even our readers. At the center of the scandal is a teenage sex worker who goes by Celeste Guap. She alleges that at least three Oakland PD officers sexually exploited her when she was underage. She also alleges that she traded sex for information with some of these police officers, traded sex for protection with others, and “dated” yet another officer, both before and after her eighteenth birthday. Even officers from surrounding municipalities were involved with Guap. In an interview with local reporters, Guap indicated that she felt the officers took advantage of her but she didn’t have any anger towards them. Guap did what she had to do to survive, but either way, going by the federal definition, Guap is a human trafficking victim and the officers are her traffickers.
Sex workers have long maintained that the police are the biggest hindrance to their work, and quite often, the biggest threat to their safety. For every sex worker “rescued” by LE, another one is arrested by LE, or trapped in an LE-sponsored diversion program, or coerced by LE, or literally pimped out by LE. While what happened at the Oakland PD might be an extreme example, it’s certainly isn’t rare. Here are a few other police department scandals that involved sex workers this year:
In Texas, a Houston police officer was busted and charged with solicitation thanks to an undercover sting.
An NYPD cop from Brooklyn was busted with a “stable of 11 hookers.”
In Ohio, a Columbus police officer received two misdemeanor charges for solicitation and prostitution because he “recklessly solicited and engaged in sexual activity with a woman who has a history of prostitution and drug abuse.”
In Melbourne, Florida, a cop was arrested for a classic soliciting while on duty scenario.
A Honolulu cop was arrested for bribery, prostitution (solicitation) and “unauthorized use of a computer.” (Bonus: this article actually quotes an anti-trafficking advocate explaining that cops are a serious threat to sex workers.)
In Michigan, an Ingham County prosecutor —who had served for almost 30 years—faced 15 criminal charges, including encouraging a minor to do sex work.
In the UK, citizens were outraged after the names of two police officers who had sex with a sex worker while on duty (of course) were withheld from public records.
In New Jersey, two NYPD cops were busted for having sex with a sex worker (while they were on an airplane!), part of a larger FBI investigation into the NYPD focusing on a real estate investor who allegedly gave gifts in exchange for “favors” from the police.
Oops! In Dayton, Ohio, a sergeant from the North Hampton PD was arrested a in sting operation.
In Kansas City, Missouri, an appeals court upheld a puny conviction of “acceding to corruption” that an officer received for not arresting a sex worker because he had sex with her. (The story described the interaction as an exchange, and the jury did not convict him of the original sex assault charge—but we can infer what really happened.)
A retired NYPD cop was busted as a “cyber pimp” who ran “dozens of prostitution websites.”
In Kentucky, per court documents, police officers and legislators were some of the clients of a prostitution ring helmed by a former constable.
A Jacksonville, Florida, police officer was charged with grand theft, petty theft, and official misconduct. He ducked a solicitation and assault charge even though investigators found he paid sex workers for sex and raped another sex worker while in uniform and wearing his gun, threatening her with arrest if she didn’t submit.