Allen County, IN

Tactics Used

Buyer Arrests
Reverse stings
Auto seizure
Community service
Public education
Neighborhood action
SOAP orders
John school
Web stings
License suspension

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.


Key Partners

  • Allen County Sheriff’s Office
  • Fort Wayne Police Department

Key Sources

Reverse Stings, Shaming

Web Stings:

Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:

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:

State Indiana
Type County
Population 372887
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