Janesville, WI

Tactics Used

Reverse stings
Auto seizure
Community service
Public education
Neighborhood action
SOAP orders
John school
Web stings
License suspension

Janesville is a city of about 65,000 residents situated along Interstate 34, south of Madison, Wisconsin.  Certain areas of the city have been known to experience prostitution activity. In recent years, local law enforcement have reported an uptick in commercial sex sales with the increased use of web advertising to solicit sex.  Cases of sex trafficking of minors have also been documented in the city, as well the murder of prostituted women.

While most attempts to address the issue have targeted prostituted women, some efforts have been made to deter and arrest sex buyers.  In 2007-2008, when individuals were seen selling sex in at least one Janesville park, residents recorded license plate numbers of suspicious vehicles and forwarded them to the Janesville Police Department. Police then sent the owners letters urging them to alert authorities if they see solicitation occurring in the park. JPD officers also posted notices on websites announcing that they planned to conduct anti-prostitution operations targeting johns in the near future. Similarly, following a case reported in January 2014 involving a 16-year-old sex trafficking victim, police stated that they were trying to track down the johns.  Johns have also been arrested in raids of local brothels.  Also in January 2014, in a separate case, Janesville police arrested an elderly man who they believed had been taking photographs of nude women for decades in a storage building on Delavan Drive.  Police also allege that the man of paying some of those women for sex.  After presenting their accumulated evidence and consulting with the district attorney’s office, police arrested the man on felony charges of soliciting for prostitution and maintaining a place of prostitution.  The two johns that were arrested in January 2014 were identified in media reports.

In March 2019, Janesville police arrested three men on suspicion of pandering in an effort to reduce human trafficking in the area. During the operation, 25 to 30 men responded to an ad and reached out to request sex acts from undercover police. Authorites arrested three men on suspicion of pandering after the men showed up at the hotel. All three were arrested and faced misdemeanor charges, and were taken into custody at the Rock County Jail. The men were all identified in news releases, and were tentatively charged with misdemeanor pandering, and one was booked into the Rock County Jail on a parole violation. The sting took place at a hotel on Midland Road, with the hotel providing three rooms for free to the police.  Agencies taking part in the sting included the Janesville, Beloit, Clinton and town of Beloit Police Departments, the Rock County Sheriff’s Office and District Attorney’s Office, the Janesville Fire Department and the Division of Criminal Investigation of the Wisconsin Department of Justice.


Key Partners

  • Janesville Police Department
  • Rock County Sheriff’s Office
  • Clinton Police Department
  • Beloit Police Department
  • District Attorney’s Office
  • Janesville Fire Department
  • Wisconsin Department of Justice
    • Division of Criminal Investigation
  • Community members providing tips to police
  • Hotels providing space for reverse stings

Key Sources

State Wisconsin
Type City
Population 63588
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