Appleton is a city of approximately 74,000 residents, located 100 miles north of Milwaukee in Outagamie County, Wisconsin. Prostitution and child sex trafficking have been well-documented in the city and surrounding communities. To combat prostitution and sex trafficking in the area, local law enforcement agencies have targeted underlying demand for commercial sex. At least two reverse stings have occurred in the city, in 2011 and 2013. The identities of those arrested were released to the public.
In October 2016, Appleton Police made multiple arrests during a nationwide human trafficking and prostitution sting. The investigation resulted in 12 men being referred to the Outagamie County District Attorney’s Office on prostitution charges. Not many details about the investigation were released, but the Appleton Police worked with the Outagamie County Sheriff’s Department and Wisconsin Department of Criminal Investigation.
The city has established a john school that accepts men arrested in Appleton and neighboring communities (e.g., Eau Claire, LaCrosse). Upon conviction, the district attorney’s office has agreed to seek probation for the defendants. As a condition of the probation, patrons are sent to a daylong “john school,” where they learn about human trafficking and the societal impact prostitution has on a community.
In 2012, the city held its first john school session, making it one of the newest john school program in the U.S. The curriculum and its content were modeled on the one-day First Offender Prostitution Program in San Francisco. The program attempts to teach arrested sex buyers about the community impact of prostitution, dynamics of pimping, effect on prostituted women and girls, health and legal consequences, and sex addiction. “5-stones” is a nonprofit organization that fights sex trafficking in Wisconsin, and collaborates on the delivery of the john school program.
Reverse Stings with Shaming:
- “Outagamie County Staff Attorney Cited in Prostitution Investigation at Heavenly Touch Massage Parlor,” Oshkosh Northwestern, May 25 2011.
- “Sting Leads to Sex Charges; Undercover Officer Poses as Prostitute,” Appleton Post-Crescent, August 12 2011.
- “Two Charged in Prostitution Sting,” Appleton Post-Crescent, January 22 2012.
- “Prostitution Investigation Leads to Arrests,” Appleton Post-Crescent, April 24 2013.
- https://fox11online.com/news/local/fox-cities/multiple-arrests-made-in-appleton-area-for-prostitution (2016)
Brothel Busts Resulting in John Arrests and Shaming:
- “Wisconsin State Rep. Gordon Hintz of Oshkosh Fined $2,032 for Sexual Misconduct Citation Issued in Outagamie County,” Appleton Post-Crescent, March 16 2011.
Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:
- “Prostitution Ring Busted in Fox Valley Area”, Wisconsin Christian News.
- “City Man Faces 3 Sex Charges,” Milwaukee Journal, December 12 1977.
- “Milwaukee Man Gets 8 Years in Prison for Pimping Appleton Girl,” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, November 12 2013.
- “Appleton Man Accused of Prostituting Runaway Girls,” Stevens Point Journal, May 12 2014.
- “Chang Sentencing Delayed after Attempt to Withdraw Plea,” Sheboygan Press, July 14 2015.
- https://www.wbay.com/content/news/Man-arrested-in-Appleton-wanted-for-human-trafficking-in-9-states (2018)
- https://fox11online.com/appleton-police-arrest-human-trafficking-suspect-after-lengthy-investigation (2019)
Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “Mario Megna Goes on Trial in Vice Case,” Milwaukee Journal, December 15 1941.
- “7 Arrested in Prostitution Probe,” Milwaukee Journal, June 1 1987.
- “Prostitute’s Baby Sold, Charge Says,” Milwaukee Journal, June 3 1987.
- “Appleton’s Seamy Side Shown in Evers’ Trial,” Milwaukee Journal, July 22 1988.
- “Trial’s End Is a Relief for Appleton,” Milwaukee Journal, July 26 1988.
- “Prostitution Ring Went High-Tech, Officials Say,” Milwaukee Journal, July 18 1995.
- “Leaders in Prostitution Ring Get Jail Terms,” Wisconsin State Journal, June 21 1996.
- “Milwaukee Woman Arrested for Prostitution,” Milwaukee Examiner, July 7 2010.
- “10 More Cited in Prostitution Sting,” FOX/WLUK-TV 11, March 11 2011.
- “Police Work with Businesses to Combat Crime,” FOX/WLUK-TV 11, August 17 2012.
- “Fox Valley Officials Strive to Halt Sex Crimes; Courts Order Johns, Prostitutes to Learn about Altering Ways,” Appleton Post-Crescent, November 4 2013.
- “Police in Fox Valley Crack down on Prostitution,” WTMJ-AM 680, November 4 2013.
- https://www.whby.com/2019/10/18/six-massage-parlors-busted-for-prostitution (2019)