Allen County is in northeastern Indiana. A 2017 Census estimate places the county’s population at more that 372,000, making it the third-most populous county in Indiana. The county seat and largest city is Fort Wayne. Prostitution and sex trafficking activity have been well-documented in Fort Wayne and surrounding communities, and in unincorporated areas of the county. This activity and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates results in complaints to law enforcement agencies from residents and businesses. Among the more serious crimes associated with the local commercial sex market is sex trafficking.
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. Reverse stings have been utilized in the County since 1991. In one of these early stings, 28 johns were arrested and each held on a $750 bond. In a later case in 2007, eight more johns were arrested and charged with solicitation. The police department conducts these types of stings on an ongoing basis throughout the year. When a john is arrested, if he is in a car, the police take an inventory of the contents of his vehicle and then tow the car. The john must pay towing and storage fees to get his vehicle back in addition to any fines the court may assess. Web stings, such as one in 2012 where seven men were arrested, are another tactic police use to catch sex buyers. Tips from the community are another tool police use to help them fight sex trafficking in the area.
In December, 2018 police conducted a web-based reverse sting that resulted in the arrest of three sex buyers. Detectives posted decoy ads on a website with other posts soliciting sex. In less than two hours, a man was on his way to meet the undercover female officer for sex. By the end of the 7-hour sting, 12 different men talked to or texted the detectives, three of which showed up at the motel to buy sex. All three men faced a single Patronizing a Prostitute charge, a Class A misdemeanor, and their identities were included in news releases.
- Allen County Sheriff’s Office
- Fort Wayne Police Department
Reverse Stings, Shaming
- “28 Charged in Prostitution Sting”, Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, May 18 1991.
- “Police to Lean on Fulton Street Soliciting”, Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, August 2 1991.
- “Neighbors, Police Like Crackdown Results; This Year, 47 Men Have Been Arrested for Patronizing”, Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, July 19 1995.
- “15 Johns Arrested”, Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, September 15 1995.
- “Nine Plead Guilty to Solicitation; They Had to Pay Costs and Must Get Counseling”, Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, September 20 1995.
- “City Man Pleads Guilty in Sting He Was Arrested for Patronizing a Prostitute”, Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, September 22 1995.
- “Teacher Gets Diversion for Patronizing; Prostitution-Related Charges May Be Dropped”, Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, October 31 1995.
- “City Man Guilty in Johns Sting”, Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, February 6 1996.
- “Man Admits to Soliciting Prostitute”, Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, February 15 1996.
- “Three Men Receive Sentences After Police Prostitution Sting”, Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, June 17 1997.
- “Street-Smart Detective Sends the Johns to Jail”, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, December 2 2007.
- “Five Men Arrested in Prostitution Sting”, Richmond Palladium-Item, August 6 2008.
- “FWPD: Several Arrests in Prostitution Sting”, CBS/WANE-TV 15, July 3 2013.
- https://www.wane.com/news/local-news/three-arrested-for-patronizing-a-prostitute-in-fwpd-sting/ (2019)
- “Prostitution Sting Nets Fort Wayne Johns”, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, February 6 2012.
- https://www.wane.com/news/local-news/three-arrested-for-patronizing-a-prostitute-in-fwpd-sting (2018)
Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:
- “Wisconsin Woman Charged with Promoting Teen Prostitution in Fort Wayne”, Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, April 5 2012.
- “Woman Tells Fort Wayne Police that Man Wanted Her to Prostitute Herself”, Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, January 3 2014.
- “Breaking the Cycle of Child Prostitution in Fort Wayne”, CBS/WANE-TV 15, June 24 2014.
- “Milwaukee Pimp Gets 20 Years for Trafficking 2 Girls,” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, June 17 2015.
Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “Fort Wayne Police Make Fifth Prostitution Arrest”, Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, September 11 2010.
- “Another Prostitution Arrest at a Fort Wayne Massage Parlor”, NBC/WISE-TV 33, April 7 2011.
Documented Violence against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area: