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Billings County is located in western North Dakota, along Interstate 94 near the Theodore Roosevelt National Park. With a population of less than 1,000, the town of Medora, ND serves as the county seat and is the only incorporated community within the county. Prostitution activity has been well-documented in Medora and unincorporated areas of the county. Among the more serious crimes associated with the local commercial sex market is sex trafficking of both adults and children, and related drug trafficking and violence toward sexually exploited people.
Consumer-level demand provides the revenue stream for all prostitution and sex trafficking and has been targeted by local law enforcement. One operation occurred in early 2013 when the Medora Police Department—with assistance from the Billings County Sheriff’s Office and the North Dakota Highway Patrol—responded to a call at a Medora residence. The investigation resulted in allegation that five men agreed to solicit a prostituted woman for commercial sex. The woman was allegedly “hired to come from Dickinson to Medora, where housing was provided by the company for whom they worked.” The men were arrested and charged with criminal conspiracy to hire an individual to engage in sexual activity, and their names and ages were publicly released. This wasn’t a traditional reverse sting but a proactive effort to arrest men for attempting to buy sex.
Sex Buyer Arrest, Identity Disclosure:
- “Medora City Council: Police Says No Results in ‘Time Consuming, Painfully Long’ Investigation into Jan. 14 Incident”, Dickinson Press, February 6 2013.
- “Possible Prostitution Investigation in Medora”, Bismarck Tribune, February 14 2013.
- https://www.grandforksherald.com/newsmd/five-charged-in-medora-prostitution-case (2013)
Background on Prostitution, Sex Trafficking, Related Violence, Drug Offenses in the Area:
- https://www.tulalipnews.com/as-sex-trade-ramps-up-in-untamed-oil-patch-dakotas-crack-down (2013)
- N.D. works to help trafficking survivors (2014)
- Human Trafficking-Law enforcement says its a problem but stats lacking (2014)
- https://www.prairiebusinessmagazine.com/business/3973125-bakken-motel-managers-battle-prostitution-rental-restrictions (2015)
- Trafficking: Know what to look for (2015)
- Focus shifts to men; help sought for women in sex trade (2015)
- Connecting in a Click (2015)
- Girls, women trapped in the game (2015)