Cloquet, 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

Cloquet is a city of roughly 13,000 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 two reverse stings to identify and arrest sex buyers. According to media reports, the CPD launched one 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.

In July 2019, six men accused of soliciting prostitution made an appearance in Carlton County Court. The men were among nine arrested in June after a multi-agency investigation and sting operation conducted in Cloquet. Each faced one gross misdemeanor count of hiring, offering or agreeing to hire to engage in prostitution in a public place. Three of the men entered into plea agreements in return for a one-year stay of imposition and one year of unsupervised probation, along with a $1,500 fine, a $250 penalty, and $85 in court fees.

Key Partners

  • 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)

Key Sources

Web-Based Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:

  • “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.
State Minnesota
Type City
Population 12686
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