Bloomington, MN

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

Bloomington is a small city of approximately 86,000 residents, located just south of Minneapolis in Hennepin County, Minnesota. Local law enforcement agencies have reported problems with prostitution and  sex trafficking in the city for several years, with activities often concentrated in and around the city’s hotels and motels. Since 2010, the Bloomington Police Department has documented cases of both extortion and robbery directly linked to prostitution transactions at these hotels, and led investigations that resulted in the arrests of individuals at Bloomington motels for child sex trafficking and exploitation. In 2020 Federal authorities filed charges against a man in Bloomington as part of a case in which police say he forced two women to work in prostitution, took their earnings, and threatened or beat them when they would not comply. In October, 2021 the man was found guilty on several charges. In September, 2022, a Minneapolis man has pleaded guilty to sex trafficking of a minor. He had recruited a 14-year-old minor to engage in commercial sex acts for his benefit. The offender arranged for these commercial sexual abuse acts using online advertisements, including ads posted on, to take place at hotels. He pleaded guilty U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson to one count of sex trafficking of a minor. This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the Bloomington Police Department, Homeland Security Investigations, and the FBI.

To combat the consumer level demand driving all prostitution and sex traffickers, the BPD has conducted multiple reverse stings. In June 2014, officers coordinated with the St. Paul Police Department and Gerald Vick Human Trafficking Task Force to intercept individuals soliciting sex on Police arranged to meet 16 people at a local hotel, wherein they were arrested and charged with prostitution-related offenses. Although the full details of the operation were not released (including the names and charges of those arrested), we do not that at least one male sex buyer was picked up during the operation. His name and arrest photo were publicized by local media outlets. In February, 2018 a Shoreview resident was convicted for offering to hire a prostituted woman at a Bloomington hotel in summer of 2017.  The man was caught during a “john sweep” designed to target people who buy sexual services online.  The operation was conducted by the Bloomington Police and St. Paul Police departments. An undercover woman detective placed a suggestive advertisement on with photos of another woman. The suspect responded to the ad and came to the specified hotel. He paid $100 for half an hour of services, and was then arrested by undercover backup officers. He pleaded guilty to a charge of hiring, offering or agreeing to hire prostitution in a public place, a gross misdemeanor. He was fined $750 and sentenced to a two-year probation. In January, 2022, the Bloomington Police Department announced that 18 people had been submitted for charging in connection to a two-day operation targeting people seeking to purchase the sexual abuse of minors.

In March, 2023, Bloomington police arrested 23 men in a web-based prostitution sting. Officers from Bloomington’s Special Investigations Unit created a decoy ad for an adult featuring photos of an undercover Bloomington officer, according to a news release from the Bloomington Police Department. Police posted the ad online on multiple websites, and waited for people to respond. More than 200 people responded to the ad. The 23 men were arrested March 15 and 16 after they showed up to meet with the person they thought was prostituted. All would be charged with gross misdemeanors, and one man could face a felony charge for possessing a firearm as a convicted felon. Two other sex buyers were arrested with firearms. Police from Maple Grove, Eden Prairie and Richfield worked with Bloomington, along with the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office. The photos and identifiers for each arrested sex buyer were included in a law enforcement press release, and included by some local news sources.

Key Partners

  • Bloomington Police Department
  • St. Paul Police Department
  • Gerald Vick Human Trafficking Task Force
  • U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement
  • Maple Grove Police Department
  • Eden Prairie Police Department
  • Richfield Police Department
  • Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office

Key Sources

Web-Based Reverse Stings, Disclosure of Identities:

Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

Documented Violence Against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:

State Minnesota
Type City
Population 86319
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