Delaware 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

Delaware County is a county of over 220,000 residents, located in central Ohio just north of Columbus. Its county seat is the city of Delaware. Prostitution and sex trafficking have been documented in the county, resulting in complaints to law enforcement. There have also been cases of drugs being connected to the commercial sex market, including drugs being used as a coercive factor in sex trafficking operations.

In efforts to reduce instances of prostitution and sex trafficking, the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office has participated in at least one web-based reverse sting operation targeting individuals seeking to purchase commercial sex in the county. For example, in September 2019, members of the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office, along with over 30 other local law enforcement agencies, took part in a multi-organization team to combat human trafficking in central Ohio. The web-based reverse sting operation, “Fourth and Goal,” led by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, Columbus Division of Police, and Central Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force, resulted in the arrest of 104 individuals on prostitution-related charges, including 40 soliciting prostitution charges, 53 felony charges, and 24 charges for importuning and attempted unlawful sexual conduct with a minor. One individual faced additional charges of attempted rape and another faced an additional charge of disseminating matter harmful for juveniles. All charges concerning minors were felonies. Additionally, 43 women were provided with social services and referred to CATCH Court. Agencies and social service organizations involved in the operation included the following: the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office, Delaware County Prosecutor’s Office, and a collaboration of at least 25 additional police departments, sheriff’s offices, prosecutor’s offices, and task forces. Many of those arrested, according to reports, also faced additional charges for attempting to solicit a minor. The names of all offenders were released to the public, and local news outlets showed mugshots for those charged for importuning a minor. The Delaware County Prosecutor said of the operation:

“Human trafficking happens in our backyard every day, and it takes a village of dedicated leaders and law enforcement partners to save these victims. Thank you Attorney General Yost and all of our law enforcement partners for their efforts to combat human trafficking in Delaware County and across the state. Saving these victims and prosecuting these criminals one person at a time is vital in our fight to end human trafficking.”

Key Partners

  • Delaware County Sheriff’s Office
  • Delaware County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Ohio Attorney General’s Office
    • Bureau of Criminal Investigation
  • Columbus Division of Police
  • Central Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force
  • Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission
  • Mahoning County Human Trafficking Task Force
  • Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office
  • Dublin Police Department
  • Hilliard Police Department
  • Austintown Police District
  • Franklin County CATCH Court
  • Grove City Police Department
  • Powell Police Department
  • Independence Police Department
  • Southeast Mental Health Addiction Services
  • Salvation Army
  • Columbus Public Health
  • Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office
  • Franklin County Sheriff’s Office
  • Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office
  • Ohio Investigative Unit
  • Cuyahoga Regional Human Trafficking Task Force,
  • Columbus City Attorney
  • U.S. Attorney for Southern Ohio
  • Franklin County ICAC Task Force
  • Franklin County HOPE Task Force
  • Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Fairfield County Prosecutor’s Office
  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
State Ohio
Type County
Population 220740
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