Defiance County, OH

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

Defiance County, Ohio has a population of approximately 38,000, and its county seat is the city of Defiance. Prostitution activity has been well-documented within the county, and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates results in complaints to law enforcement agencies from residents and businesses.  For example, In 2008, a Defiance County Township trustee was found guilty on a prostitution-related charge following a jury trial. The man had been arrested during a Fulton County sex sting in Wauseon. In 2018, the sex offender registry for Defiance listed a man who had been convicted of compelling prostitution (i.e., sex trafficking) and qualified as a habitual sex offender. The Northwest Ohio Rescue and Restore Coalition has a Defiance County Chapter to respond to local and regional issues associated with human trafficking. In December 2018, the Defiance County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in conducting an undercover operation that lead to a woman being arrested and charged with solicitation of prostitution. A case file was forwarded to the Defiance County Prosecutor’s Office for presentation to a Defiance County grand jury for charges of promoting prostitution, a fourth-degree felony. The investigation continued with the possibility of other persons being charged.

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. Demand reduction tactics used in the county include web based reverse stings, and the disclosure of sex buyer identities. For example, in October 2018, seven people were arrested in a prostitution sting that occurred in an undisclosed location in Defiance. The Defiance Police Department, FBI’s Violent Crimes against Children Task Force, the Defiance County Sheriff’s Office, and the Defiance County Prosecutor’s Office conducted the operation to deter sex trafficking in the city. Authorities charged six men with solicitation, and a seventh person (a woman) with felony level promoting prostitution. The identities of the arrested individuals were publicly disclosed by police.

In October, 2021, the Defiance County Sheriff’s Office participated in Operation Ohio Knows coordinated through the Attorney General’s Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission (OOCIC). In announcing that 161 people were arrested and 51 potential human trafficking victims were helped in the statewide operation, the bulk of which was a web-based reverse sting targeting the sex buyers of trafficked adults and children, the AG said:

“People who traffic other humans are doing it for a really simple reason — money. And if there’s no demand then there will be no market. Reducing the demand means we reduce the number of people who are victimized by human trafficking. We will not rest until no one in Ohio buys or sells human beings.


Key Partners

  • Defiance County Sheriff’s Office
  • Defiance Police Department
  • Defiance County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Defiance County Common Pleas Court
  • Attorney General’s Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
    • Violent Crimes Against Children Task Force
  • MultiArea Narcotics Task Force (MAN Unit)
State Ohio
Type County
Population 38144
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