Fond du Lac, WI

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

Fond du Lac is a city in Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin, United States. The population was 43,021 at the 2010 census. The population increased to 44,678 at the 2020 census. The city forms the core of the United States Census Bureau’s Fond du Lac Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Fond du Lac County. The city is on Lake Winnebago, about 20 miles south of Oshkosh. Prostitution activity has been well-documented in the city and nearby communities. This activity and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates results in complaints to law enforcement agencies from residents and businesses. For example, in 2015 two Fond du Lac women were arrested and faced criminal charges as part of what police called an online prostitution ring.  Among the more serious crimes associated with the local commercial sex market is sex trafficking. A wide range of additional crimes associated with the local sex trade have also been documented, including child sex trafficking and the murder of sex trafficking victims.  For example, in 2008, hunters found the body of a young woman partially submerged in a frozen creek in Fond du Lac County. Her death was ruled a homicide. She was identified and found at the time of death to have been 18 years old, and was a victim of sex trafficking who had been exploited in the area as well as in Chicago, Beloit, and Milwaukee.

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. For example, in August, 2021, an undercover human trafficking operation resulted in the arrest of five men in Fond du Lac who were charged with solicitation of prostitution. The identities of the arrested sex buyers were not disclosed in initial news reports.   The Wisconsin Attorney General thanked members of the Division of Criminal Investigation, Wisconsin State Patrol and the Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s Office who coordinated the investigation:

Our outstanding Human Trafficking Bureau works to combat human trafficking, including by investigating and arresting individuals who drive the demand for this outrageous criminal activity by soliciting commercial sex. The Wisconsin Department of Justice is committed to fighting human sex trafficking and to providing support services to survivors.

Also collaborating on the effort were Wisconsin Department of Justice — Department of Criminal Investigations, Wisconsin Statewide Intelligence Center, Wisconsin State Patrol, Lake Winnebago Metropolitan Enforcement Group Unit, Fond du Lac Police Department and ASTOP to target sex buyers working in the city.  The arrested men were from Fond du Lac, Oshkosh, Wautoma and Berlin. Multiple charges were referred to the Fond du Lac County District Attorney’s Office, and detectives and agents continued their investigation.

Key Partners

  • Fond du Lac Police Department
  • Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s Office
  • Fond du Lac County District Attorney’s Office
  • Wisconsin State Patrol
  • Wisconsin Department of Justice
    • Department of Criminal Investigations
  • Wisconsin Statewide Intelligence Center
  • Wisconsin State Patrol
  • Lake Winnebago Metropolitan Enforcement Group Unit
State Wisconsin
Type City
Population 42944
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