Lewiston is an unincorporated community of about 1,100 residents, located in Montmorency County, Michigan. Prostitution and sex trafficking activity have been well-documented in the city and surrounding communities, and in unincorporated areas of the county. This activity and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates results in complaints to law enforcement agencies from residents and businesses. Among the more serious problems associated with commercial sex in the area include child sex trafficking.
To combat prostitution and sex trafficking in the area, local law enforcement agencies have targeted consumer-level demand for commercial sex, which provides the revenue stream driving all commercial sex and trafficking. For example, in 2010, a 57 year-old Montmorency County man was arrested as part of an undercover Internet sex sting, and he was charged with three counts of disseminating sexually explicit matter to a minor following a 3-day sting in August 2009. The undercover investigation was conducted by the Michigan Attorney General’s Office, the Livingston County Sheriff’s Department and volunteers from an organization that patrols the internet for sexual predators. The suspect became involved in a sexually explicit conversation with a volunteer posing as a 14 year-old girl, which included sending nude photos of himself. He was arraigned on the charges in Montmorency County.
in 2018, the Michigan State Police, multi-jurisdictional task force teams, sheriff’s offices, and city police departments collaborated to conduct enforcement operations across 19 counties in northern Michigan aimed at arresting individuals using the Internet to purchase sex. Between February and June, thirty-five arrests had been made in seven counties, during nine enforcement initiatives. Seventy criminal counts were evenly split between charges for solicitation for prostitution and for using a computer to commit a crime. The photos and identities of the arrested men were included in news releases. Lewiston was one of the locations in which the web-based reverse stings were conducted, resulting in the arrest of two men in June of 2018. The photos and identities of the arrested men were included in news releases. Other cities included in the large-scale collaboration were Traverse City, Alpena, Houghton Lake, Cadillac, Gaylord, and Petoskey.
- Michigan State Police
- Montmorency County Sheriff’s Office
Web-Based Reverse Stings, Shaming:
- https://www.truenorthradionetwork.com/man-busted-in-internet-sex-sting/ (2010)
- https://www.clickondetroit.com/news/michigan-state-police-makes-35-arrests-in-prostitution-stings-across-19-counties (2018)
- https://www.petoskeynews.com/blue/prostitution-sting-nets-arrests-retired-state-trooper-among-defendants/ (2018)
- http://www.wnem.com/police-arrest-35-men-in-massive-michigan-human-trafficking-sting (2018)
- https://www.9and10news.com/2018/08/23/35-men-arrested-in-northern-michigan-prostitution-sting/ (2018)
- http://www.minews26.com/content/35-men-arrested-in-traverse-city-prostitution-sting/ (2018)
- https://www.cadillacnews.com/news/local/northern-michigan-prostitution-stings-net-arrests-including-in-cadillac (2018)
Background on Local Prostitution and Sex Trafficking:
- https://upnorthlive.com/news/local/msp-warns-of-impacts-of-prostitution-in-northern-michigan-communities (2018)
- https://www.9and10news.com/2018/12/14/registered-sex-offender-charged-with-having-child-porn-in-montmorency-co/ (2018)