Cuyahoga Falls, OH
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Cuyahoga Falls is a city of approximately 51,000 residents and is located in Summit County, Ohio. It is the second-largest city in Summit County. Prostitution and sex trafficking have been well-documented in the city and surrounding communities. Among the more serious crimes associated with the commercial sex market in the city are sex trafficking and violence against prostituted people. For example, in 2014, a Cuyahoga Falls sex buyer was accused of biting off a portion of a prostituted woman’s finger during a dispute that ended outside the Akron Police Department. The alleged sex buyer reportedly drove to the Akron Police Department after calling in the incident to a dispatcher and claimed that the woman refused to leave his car. Upon their arrival, police noticed that the woman’s hand was bleeding and saw blood smeared across the backseat of the car. After further investigation police discovered that the woman had previously been arrested for prostitution. The sex buyer was arrested for one count of felonious assault and was held in the Summit County Jail with his bond set at $100,000. The woman was not arrested and was treated at Akron General Medical Center.
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. To identify and apprehend local sex buyers driving the prostitution and sex trafficking markets, the Summit County Sheriff’s Office and the Cuyahoga Falls Police Department have collaborated along with other municipal police departments in the county to conduct reverse stings and other demand-reduction tactics. For example, in 2014, a Cuyahoga Falls man was arrested after attempting to contact what he believed to be parents of a young girl online, who were interested in arranging a “marriage” for their daughter. The sex buyer was communicating with undercover officials from the Alliance Police Department and was arrested upon his arrival at a restaurant in Alliance. The operation was conducted by the Alliance Police Department with assistance from the FBI and the Cuyahoga Falls Police Department. According to reports, the offender was originally arrested and charged at the local level; however, local charges were later dismissed to charge the man at the federal level. In September 2014, the sex buyer was found guilty on three federal counts: offering to buy a child, enticement, and receipt and distribution of visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. He was sentenced to 30 years in a federal prison. In October 2021, over 160 male sex buyers were arrested in what was the largest prostitution and sex trafficking operation to have ever been conducted in Ohio history. According to the Attorney General, Dave Yost:
“51 potential human trafficking victims were helped in and 161 men were arrested in 17 communities, including an Elyria City Councilmember, a firefighter, a teacher, and a professor. This was the first time the sting has been conducted when the crime of buying sex is more severe than the penalty for trying to sell sex, so the focus of this sting was on arresting potential ‘johns.’ We want to make the point that you’re not just going out there on a private thing between two consenting adults. You’re taking the risk that that person is being trafficked.”
Identity disclosure and loss of employment are consequence of buying sex that have occurred within the city. For example, in February 2013, the head coach for the girls basketball team at Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy was fired after his arrest in an online prostitution sting. The coach was among 12 men arrested in a prostitution investigation conducted by the Willoughby Police Department in Lake County. Willoughby police had posted an ad on a website known for prostitution and 12 men responded to the ad, which offered a private, 30-minute session with a 20-year-old prostituted woman in exchange for $100 each. Upon their arrival to the motel room, the sex buyers were arrested by undercover officers. The identities of the arrested men, including the fired coach, were included in news releases. In addition to the former basketball coach, a second man from Cuyahoga Falls was also arrested during the operation.
Reverse Stings, Web-Stings, Identity Disclosure:
- https://www.cantonrep.com/article/NEWS (2014)
- https://www.justice.gov/usao-ndoh/pr/cuyahoga-falls-man-sentenced-30-years-prison-trying-buy-child (2014)
- https://www.cleveland19.com/summit-county-undercover-investigation-busts-human-trafficking-operation (2020)
- https://www.statenews.org/government-politics/largest-human-trafficking-sting-in-ohio-history-nets-161-arrests (2021)
- https://ohiochannel.org/video/attorney-general-dave-yost-announcing-success-of-statewide-human-trafficking-operation (2021)
- https://www.cleveland19.com/over-160-caught-ohios-largest-human-trafficking-sting-including-arrests-portage-summit-counties (2021)
Sex Buyer Fired or Resigned Due to Arrest, Identity Disclosure:
- https://www.beaconjournal.com/article/news (2013)
- https://www.cleveland19.com/story/girls-basketball-coach-among-those-arrested-in-prostitution-sting (2013)
Documented Violence Against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:
Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:
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