Gaylord, MI

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

Gaylord is a city of about 3,700 residents in Otsego County,  northern Michigan. Prostitution activity is well documented in the city of Gaylord and in the surrounding towns and unincorporated areas within the county. Among the numerous crimes and other problems associated with commercial sex in area sex trafficking of minors, cases of prostituted persons failing to disclose their HIV infection while continuing to sell sex, and prostitution used as a pretext to commit armed robbery against sex buyers.  For example, in 2014 Gaylord police received a tip about prostitutes working out of area hotels.  Police investigated and confirmed one of the individuals was HIV positive, and that she had been working a list of clients in the Gaylord area.  Gaylord police said these prostitution rings include local individuals as well as those from surrounding communities and southern Michigan. In July 2016, police arrested another Otsego County woman who was HIV positive, and engaged in prostitution with multiple sex buyers without telling them about her virus. In December 2016, three suspects were arrested and charged with multiple offenses for luring a man through prostitution solicitation to rob him at gunpoint a Gaylord motel.

Among the tactics used to address such problems are those focusing on consumer level demand for commercial sex.  For example, in May 2018, an Otsego County surgeon was arrested in a prostitution sting operation set up by Michigan State Police narcotics officers. The suspect responded to an online advertisement and called an undercover officer posing as a prostituted woman to set up a meeting at a hotel, at an undisclosed location within Otsego County. The man was charged with solicitation of prosecution, and for using a computer to commit a crime. He was also fired from his job at Otsego Memorial Hospital, and had his identity disclosed to the media by law enforcement officials. Assistant County Prosecutor said that the local narcotics team had been given a directive to do stings targeting prostitution, specifically looking for sex buyers.  The arrest was part of a statewide initiative to fight human trafficking in Michigan.  In Michigan, engaging in the services of prostitution is a misdemeanor and depends on the nature of the act and prior criminal history, punishable by up to 93 days in jail or a fine, probation, or community service.

Key Partners

  • Michigan State Police
  • Gaylord Police Department
  • Otsego County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Otsego Memorial Hospital

Key Sources

Web-Based Reverse Sting, Shaming:

Sex Buyer Loss of Employment Due to Arrest:

Community Service:

Background on Local Prostitution and Sex Trafficking:

State Michigan
Type City
Population 3690
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