Grand Forks is a city of about 50,000 residents, situated in eastern North Dakota. Prostitution is known to have occurred in the city and surrounding areas, dating back to the late 1800s during the building of railroads. Recently, prostitution has reportedly increased a great deal since 2011, in response to the boom in oil production in the state. At least one case of sex trafficking a minor in the city has also concerned police and others, and complaints to police from residents about prostitution have increased.
Among the local efforts to address such problems have been the use of tactics targeting consumer-level demand. Four men were arrested in Grand Forks in January, 2013 in the city’s first reverse sting, conducted at a local hotel. The hotel manager was a friend of a Grand Forks police officer, and agreed to let police use their hotel to set up the reverse sting. The hotel has had no known cases of prostitution or other crime, and prostitution occurring in that particular hotel was not the subject of the investigation. After responding to a decoy online ad, four men were arrested for “hiring an individual to engage in sexual activity,” a Class B Misdemeanor in North Dakota. The maximum penalty is 30 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Similar operations occurred in April 2014 and February 2015, resulting in the arrests of 13 sex buyers. In the days following the operations, all of the johns’ names and other identifying information were released to the public. One john arrested in the February 2015 reversal was charged with “human trafficking with a victim under the age of 18, a class AA felony.” He allegedly attempted to purchase sex from an undercover officer who he believed to be a minor girl. In September 2015, the Grand Forks Herald reported that the man had “pleaded guilty to corruption or solicitation of minors, a Class A misdemeanor,” and had been sentenced to “two months in jail, though the court allowed him to serve the time on electronic home monitoring, followed by one and a half years of probation.” He was also reportedly ordered to complete community service.
- Grand Forks Police Department
- Grand Forks County District Court
- Grand Forks County State’s Attorney Office
- Grand Forks County Correctional Center
- John Arrests with Shaming:
- Web-Based Reverse Stings and Shaming:
- “4 Men Arrested in Grand Forks Prostitution Sting”, NBC/KVLY-TV 11, January 25 2013.
- “Grand Forks Prostitution Sting Hooks Four”, Grand Forks Herald, January 25 2013.
- “Police Nab Four Men in Grand Forks Prostitution Sting”, Detroit Lakes News, January 25 2013.
- “5 Men Arrested in Prostitution Sting in ND”, Washington Times, April 27 2014.
- “5 Men Arrested in Prostitution Sting in N.D.”, Bismarck Tribune, April 28 2014.
- “5 Men Arrested in Prostitution Sting in Grand Forks”, Crookston Times, April 28 2014.
- “Are Prostitution Stings Worth Police Effort?”, NBC/KVLY-TV 11, April 28 2014.
- “Grand Forks Police Department Prostitution Sting Hooks 5”, ABC/WDAY-TV 6, April 29 2014.
- “8 Men Busted in Grand Forks Prostitution Sting,” NBC/KVLY-TV 11, February 13 2015.
- “Eight Arrested in Grand Forks Prostitution Sting,” Dickinson Press, February 13 2015.
- “Ninth Man Arrested in Grand Forks Prostitution Sting,” Bismarck Tribune, February 15 2015.
- “Eighth of 9 Men Caught in Grand Forks Prostitution Sting Gets Two Months in Jail,” Grand Forks Herald, September 14 2015.
- John School:
- Community Service:
- Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:
- “Grand Forks: Three Charged in Human Trafficking of Minor”, FOX/KVRR-TV 19, August 14 2012.
- “Man Pleads Not Guilty in Prostitution Case”, Grand Forks Herald, October 1 2012.
- “Three Plead Not Guilty to Trafficking 17-Year-Old Girl to Men in Grand Forks”, Grand Forks Herald, November 14 2012.
- “Retired School Counselor Sentenced for Hiring Prostitute”, Grand Forks Herald, December 12 2012.
- “Plea Deals Reduce Sentence in Human Trafficking; From Maximum of Life, Defendants Face Maximum 5 Years”, Grand Forks Herald, January 4 2013.
- “Two Men Seek Trial in Grand Forks Trafficking Case”, Grand Forks Herald, March 4 2013.
- “Judge Gives Two Years Probation to Woman in Grand Forks Pimping Case”, Grand Forks Herald, April 24 2013.
- “Man Gets Five Years for Trafficking”, Grand Forks Herald, May 31 2013.
- Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “Prostitution Arrests Rare Here”, Grand Forks Herald, August 6 1998.
- “GFPD Arrests Alleged Prostitute; Police Set Up Sting at Hotel”, Grand Forks Herald, April 21 2009.
- “GF City Council Passes Sex Shop Restrictions”, Grand Forks Herald, April 16 2012.
- “Charged with Prostitution, Grand Forks Woman Says She’s Not Guilty”, Grand Forks Herald, July 26 2012.