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.
- Ann Arbor Police Department
Street-Level Reverse Stings:
Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:
- “Coming to a Truck Stop Near You,” National Review, January 15 2008.
- “Woman Accused of Running Ann Arbor Prostitution Ring to Face Trial,” Ann Arbor News, May 24 2015.
- “Woman Accused of Running Ann Arbor Prostitution Ring Pleads Guilty, Won’t See Jailtime,” Ann Arbor News, August 14 2015.
Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “Owner Pleads Guilty to Running Illegal Massage Parlors,” Ann Arbor News, January 30 2004.
- “Spa Owner Pleads Guilty,” Ann Arbor News, February 6 2004.
- “Brothel Crackdown Paid Off; Prostitution Probe Closed 5 Sites; Police Got $500,000 in Forfeitures,” Ann Arbor News, September 6 2006.
- “Spa Busted in Brothel Sting; Police Shut Ann Arbor Site, Saying Women Offered Sex for Money,” Ann Arbor News, October 12 2006.
- https://annarborobserver.com/road_back_from_walking_the_streets (2014)
- https://www.washtenaw.org/DocumentCenter/Problem-Oriented-Policing-Overview (2017)
- https://www.mlive.com/embattled_hotel_with_history_of prostitution.html (2018)
2021 Decriminalization Policy