Genesee County is located in eastern Michigan, and has a population of approximately 400,000. The county seat and population center is the city of Flint. Prostitution and sex trafficking are well-established problems in Flint and surrounding ares of the county, generating resident and business complaints to law enforcement agencies and including sex trafficking of children and people with special needs. For example, in 2019, three people were arrested and charged after officials alleged they had forced two women and one man into prostitution at gun point in order to repay their drug debt. The numerous charges after authorities say the victims were allegedly forced to perform sexual acts against their will in order to repay a drug debt they owed to Scott. The Genesee County Sheriff’s Office had been tipped off to the situation by a confidential informant who said the victims were being marketed as prostitutes on a website. One of the defendants had assaulted at least one of the victims extensively. Authorities executing search warrants at homes on in Burton and Flint believed to be connected to the incident and discovered an AR-15 rifle, crack cocaine, marijuana, used hypodermic needles, drug paraphernalia, pornography and condoms from the Burton home. They also found a 6-month-old child who was turned over to child protective services, and they seized a computer allegedly used to post the victims on Backpage.com. The traffickers allegedly charged the victims $20 per day to utilize a bedroom in the home for sex acts. Defendants were arraigned on numerous charges including human trafficking, prostitution, unlawful imprisonment, using a computer to commit a crime, assault with a dangerous weapon, assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder, felon in possession of a firearm, assault, possession of heroin and possession of cocaine, allowing a child to live in a house of prostitution, fourth-degree child abuse, and reckless use of a weapon. In 2020, six missing children were recovered by the Genesee County Sheriff’s office, including a 16 year old person with special need who was locked in a barn surrounded by barbed wire, where numerous men paid to sexually abuse her.
- Genesee County Sheriff’s Office
- Genesee County Human Trafficking Task Force
- Flint Police Department
National Assessment survey and interview with Genessee County Sheriff’s Office
Street-level reverse stings:
- “Several Men Nabbed in Hooker Sting,” Flint Journal, June 1 1996.
- “Prostitution Sting Nets 13,” Flint Journal, June 1 2002.
- “8 Men Arrested in Vice Sting,” Flint Journal, January 13 2007.
- “Flint Police Target Customers in Prostitution Sting”, Michigan Live, June 18 2008.
- “In Rare Move, Cops Release Photos of Johns Caught in Sex Sting,” CBS/WWJ-TV 62, October 30 2015.
- “Flint Police Post Prostitution Suspects’ Photos Online,” Detroit Free Press, October 30 2015.
Web-based reverse stings:
- “Michigan Sheriff Turning to Prostitution to Help Balance Budget”, NBC/WLIX-TV 10, October 4 2007.
- “Two Arrested on Flint’s North Side During Alleged Prostitution”, Michigan Live, March 5 2013.
Background on prostitution and sex trafficking in the area:
- The County Press, March 23, 2008. Prostitution ring operating from hotel busted.
- https://www.mlive.com/news/flint/2020/08/17-arrested-in-child-trafficking-sweep-in-genesee-county.html (2020)
- https://www.abc12.com/content/news/Human-traffickers-groom-Genesee-County-students-on-social-media-sheriff-says-567809711.html (2020)
- https://www.wthr.com/michigan-sheriffs-office-finds-7-missing-kids-16-year-old-victim-of-human-trafficking (2020)
- https://www.wsls.com/news/16-year-old-locked-in-barn-rescued-from-human-trafficking-sheriff/ (2020)
- https://www.clickondetroit.com/news/local/2020/02/18/undercover-operation-saves-16-year-old-girl-from-human-trafficking-in-genesee-county/ (2020)
- https://www.abc12.com/2020/08/26/detective-26-year-old-sex-trafficked-special-needs-woman-in-genesee-county/ (2020)
- https://www.abc12.com/2021/02/10/genesee-co-sheriff-dept-spread-awareness-of-human-trafficking/ (2021)
- https://www.wnem.com/arrest-made-at-genesee-county-home-after-8-overdoses-75-911-calls/ (2021)