Battle Creek is the third-largest city in Michigan, with approximately 52,000 residents. Prostitution and sex trafficking activity have been persistent and visible in the city, 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 is child sex trafficking, and cases of targeted assaults of prostituted women have been reported in the city. In October 2018, for example, a Battle Creek man has been sentenced to life in prison in federal court for sexually exploiting three teenagers. A jury found the man guilty of producing child pornography involving three teenage girls, forcing one of the girls to engage in prostitution, and other charges related to 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. Two female victims were rescued from a local motel, and said that they had been held by the men since late summer of 2018, and 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 believe other women are 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 attempt 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 johns.
In August 2020 the Battle Creek Police Department conducted another all-day sting to address the concerns of prostitution that had been reported by citizens and local businesses. The process resulted in the arrest of twelve individuals, 10 of which were buyers, on charges of 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 within the upcoming months, as prostitution continues to be a problem that plagues Battle Creek, Michigan. 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, similarly to previous arrests.
- Battle Creek Police Department
- Street-Level Reverse Stings:
- “Six Arrested in Prostitution Sting”, Battle Creek Enquirer, September 16 2003.
- “Panel to Study Prostitution Problem”, Battle Creek Enquirer, October 30 2003.
- “Undercover Sting Results in 8 Arrests for Solicitation”, Battle Creek Enquirer, October 12 2005.
- “Police and Fire Report”, Battle Creek Enquirer, February 4 2006.
- “Prostitution Sting Nets Eight Arrests”, Battle Creek Enquirer, July 20 2006.
- “Neighborhood Wants an End to Prostitution”, Battle Creek Enquirer, July 21 2006.
- “Seven Arrested in Prostitution Sting”, Battle Creek Enquirer, August 10 2006.
- “Seven Arrested in Prostitution Sting”, Battle Creek Enquirer, March 27 2007.
- “Time for a Spring Sting”, Battle Creek Enquirer, May 23 2008.
- https://www.battlecreekenquirer.com/battle-creek-prostitution-sting-targets-customers (2015)
- Web-Based Reverse Stings:
- Auto Seizure:
- Documented Violence against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:
- Background on Local Prostitution and Child Sex Trafficking:
- “Police Net Sweeps up Eight Suspected Prostitutes”, Battle Creek Enquirer, September 23 2005.
- “Prostitution Has a New Enemy”, Battle Creek Enquirer, October 21 2005.
- “Residents March against Prostitution”, Battle Creek Enquirer, June 2 2006.
- “Former Prostitute Hopes to S.T.O.P. Others”, Battle Creek Enquirer, February 28 2007.
- “Police Hook 5 in Sting”, Battle Creek Enquirer, June 8 2007.
- “Six Women Arrested in Prostitution Sting”, Battle Creek Enquirer, August 21 2013.
- “Effort Begins to Help Sex Workers; Police Open Talks with Agencies”, Battle Creek Enquirer, August 14 2014.
- “Prostitution Sting Includes Diversion,” Battle Creek Enquirer, November 19 2015.
- http://fox17online.com/2016/06/28/3-arrested-on-sex-trafficking-charges-in-battle-creek/ (2016)
- https://www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/2018/10/battle_creek_man_sentenced (2018)
- https://www.battlecreekenquirer.com/news/2019/01/14/lansing-battle-creek-human-trafficking-quality-inn (2019)