Battle Creek, MI

Tactics Used

Auto Seizure
Buyer Arrests
Community Service
Employment Loss
Identity Disclosure
IT Based Tactics
John School
License Suspension
Neighborhood Action
Public Education
Reverse Stings
SOAP Orders
Web Stings

Battle Creek is the third-largest city in Michigan, with approximately 53,000 residents. It is located in southern Michigan, within Calhoun County. Prostitution has been well-documented in the city, surrounding communities, and in other areas of the county. This activity, and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates result in complaints to law enforcement agencies from residents and businesses. Among the more serious crimes associated with the local commercial sex market, child sex trafficking, and the targeted assaults of prostituted women have been reported in the city. For example, in October 2018, a Battle Creek man was sentenced to life in prison, after sexually exploiting three teenage girls. The jury found the man guilty of producing child pornography, involving the girls. He was also charged with sex trafficking after forcing one of the girls to engage in prostitution. Other charges leveled against the man were felonious possession of firearms and drug trafficking. In January 2019, two men were arrested and charged with numerous offenses, for their role in trafficking at least two women, in Battle Creek and other areas of Michigan. The two women were rescued from a local motel, and later stated that the two men had held them captive since late summer of 2018. The women had been moved among several motels in the Lansing, and Battle Creek areas, and perhaps other places in Michigan. Drugs and assaults were used by the men to force them into prostitution and maintain control of them. Police also believed other women were possible victims of the traffickers.

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. Driven by community complaints and the need to prevent sex trafficking, the Battle Creek Police Department has conducted both street-level and online reverse stings, in an effort to apprehend and deter commercial sex buyers. Officers may also seize the vehicles of arrested buyers.

In August 2020 the Battle Creek Police Department conducted another all-day sting to address the concerns about prostitution and its related crimes that had been reported by citizens and local businesses. The operation resulted in the arrest of twelve individuals, ten of which were sex buyers, later charged with solicitation. However, in this particular case, some of the individuals arrested believed they were charged without adequate evidence. Despite these protests, the police department plans to conduct a similar operation in the coming months, as prostitution continues to be a problem that plagues the city. While the names of the men arrested were not released, representatives of the Battle Creek Police Department have told reporters that the cars of the men arrested have been seized, consistent with previous reports. All the vehicles were later released after the defendants paid a $500 dollar fine. The solicitation charges are a misdemeanor and carry a fine of about $100.

Less than a week after the prostitution reverse sting on Captial Avenue, Battle Creek Police arrested four individuals in an online sting. A later sting resulted in the arrest of two men and two women. Officers posed as both customers and prostituted persons on websites seeking out individuals who would trade sex in exchange for money, according to the Battle Creek Enquirer. After talking online, the undercover officer and the individual would agree to a price, and set up a time and a place to meet. Two male sex buyers were arrested.

Key Partners

  • Battle Creek Police Department

Key Sources

Street-Level Reverse Stings:

Web-Based Reverse Stings:

Auto Seizure:

Documented Violence against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:

Background on Local Prostitution and Child Sex Trafficking:

Local Prostitution Ordinance:

State Michigan
Type City
Population 52721
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