Detroit Lakes, 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

Detroit Lakes is a city of just under 10,000 residents located in western Minnesota, and is the county seat of Becker County. During the summer months its unofficial population is much higher because of seasonal residents and tourists. Prostitution and child sex trafficking have been documented in the city and surrounding county, resulting in complaints to law enforcement.

Local law enforcement have engaged in opportunistic sex buyer arrests and identity disclosure to combat the demand for prostitution and sex trafficking. In January 2010, a Detroit Lakes man was charged with “felony soliciting prostitution, ages 16-18,” after a teenage girl and her mother reported to the Becker County Sheriff’s Department that he sent a harassing text message to the girl offering her $25 for oral sexual abuse. Officers said the man allegedly admitted to sending the text and his phone number matched the one from which the message was sent. He was convicted of soliciting a minor to engage in prostitution, and was sentenced to 120 days in jail and placed on five years supervised probation. He was also ordered to register as a predatory offender, which included registering his place of residence with local law enforcement. The man registered his residence in April 2010 but then moved into a friend’s house in July without notifying law enforcement. In April 2011, the man was sent to prison for violating the predatory offender registration law. He was ordered to serve up to 15 months at the state correctional facility and was fined $210. The man’s name, age, and address were released to the press.

In May 2017, a sex buyer was arrested and charged with felony prostitution involving a 16- or 17-year-old after Detroit Lakes Police received a report from Becker County Human Services that the man had allegedly paid a teenage girl, whom he met through an app on her phone, $300 for access to sexually assault the minor at a Detroit Lakes motel. The man’s name, age, and hometown were released to the press.

Key Partners

  • Detroit Lakes Police Department
  • Becker County Sheriff’s Department
  • Becker County District Court
  • Becker County Human Services
State Minnesota
Type City
Population 9795
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