Ann Arbor, MI

Tactics Used

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

Ann Arbor is a city of about 120,000 residents located west of Detroit, along Interstate 94 in Washtenaw County. The first known reverse sting in the city occurred in 1978. In that two-day operation, 18 men were arrested and were released on bond. They could have faced up to 90 days in jail and been fined up to $100 at the time. Reverse stings are still periodically conducted by police, due in part to complaints from local businesses. A “john school” was established by a counseling center in Ann Arbor, but it served the neighboring city of Ypsilanti, so it is discussed in that city’s summary.

On January 14, 2021, the Washtenaw County Office of the Prosecuting Attorney announced that, effective immediately, prostitution had been decriminalized within the county. The new policy states that no charges will be authorized against those engaged in “consensual sex work,” and that the the policy applies to sex buyers as well as to prostituted persons. The de facto decriminalization does not apply to sex trafficking of either minors or adults. Police could potentially continue to arrest sex buyers, since state law still prohibits prostitution, but it remains to be seen whether they will do so since they know the charges will not be pursued by the prosecutor’s office.

Key Partners

  • Ann Arbor Police Department

Key Sources

Street-Level Reverse Stings:

Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

2021 Decriminalization Policy

State Michigan
Type City
Population 120735
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