Cloquet is a small city of roughly 12,000 residents, located in eastern Minnesota’s Carlton County near Duluth. Prostitution and sex trafficking are well-documented problems in the city and surrounding areas. For example, in 2003 two local residents were charged with recruiting a 17-year-old girl in Cloquet and transporting her to Illinois where she was forced to commit acts of prostitution for a Chicago-based escort service.
Although efforts to reduce prostitution in the area appear limited, the Cloquet Police Department has conducted at least one reverse sting to identify and arrest sex buyers. According to media reports, the CPD launched the sting in 2010 after receiving information about individuals “seeking prostitution for hire via the internet.” In response, the department conducted a year-long investigation to intercept sex buyers. While the logistical details of the web-based reversal were not disclosed to the public, CPD officers reportedly received “28 inquiries in all which consisted of text messages, emails and phone calls,” culminating in the arrests of 9 men for solicitation at a local hotel. With the investigation complete, the department released the names, ages, and hometowns of each of the arrestees in June 2011.
- Cloquet Police Department
- Lake Superior Gang and Drug Task Force
- Duluth Police Violent Crimes Bureau
- Carlton County Sheriff’s Office
- Carlton County Law Enforcement Center
- Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF)
- Web-Based Reverse Stings with Shaming:
- “9 Arrested in Cloquet Prostitution Sting; The Sting Operation Had 28 Inquiries in the Form of Text Messages, E-mails and Phone Calls; The Operation Stemmed from the Gathering of Information over the Past 12 Months that Individuals Had Been Seeking Prostitutes via the Internet”, Duluth News-Tribune, June 30 2011.
- “Nine Arrested in Cloquet Prostitution Sting”, Cloquet Pine Journal, June 30 2011.
- “Nine Men Arrested in Prostitution Sting”, Duluth News-Tribune, July 1 2011.
- “9 Charged in Cloquet Prostitution Sting Get Court Date”, Duluth News-Tribune, July 15 2011.
- “Nine Arrested in Prostitution Sting to Appear in Court July 27”, Cloquet Pine Journal, July 15 2011.
- “Cloquet Man Pleads Guilty to Soliciting Prostitution”, Cloquet Pine Journal, July 22 2011.
- “Three Men Reach Plea Deals in Cloquet Prostitution Sting; Six Men Accused of Soliciting Prostitution Made an Appearance Wednesday in Carlton County Court”, Duluth News-Tribune, July 28 2011.
- “Three More in Prostitution Sting Have Their Day in Court”, Cloquet Pine Journal, August 25 2011.
- “County Attorney Files Appeal in Prostitution Case”, Cloquet Pine Journal, January 16 2012.
- “Carlton County Attorney Drops Appeal in Prostitution Case against Duluth Man”, Duluth News-Tribune, April 7 2012.
- https://www.duluthnewstribune.com/news/2429887-hotel-dispute-leads-carlton-county-prostitution-appeal (2012)
- https://www.duluthnewstribune.com/news/2312386-three-men-reach-plea-deals-cloquet-prostitution-sting (2019)
- Background on Local Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation:
- “Cloquet Couple Charged; Local Teen Exploited in Chicago”, Mesabi Daily News, January 11 2003.
- “Couple Charged in Sex Scheme; Public Safety: A Couple Is Jailed in Carlton County after Being Accused of Forcing a Girl into Prostitution”, Duluth News-Tribune, January 11 2003.
- “Couple Charged in Teen Prostitute Case; 17-Year-Old Cloquet-Area Girl Taken to Chicago”, St. Paul Pioneer Press, January 11 2003.
- “Chicago-Area Man Charged with Sex Crime”, Duluth News-Tribune, February 11 2003.