Mankato, MN

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

Mankato is a city of approximately 45,000 residents, situated southwest of Minneapolis in Blue Earth, Nicollet, and Le Sueur counties in central Minnesota. Located at the juncture of U.S. Highway 14 and U.S. Highway 169, law enforcement has reported prostitution activity, as well as incidents of sex trafficking and prostitution-related robberies in the community in recent years.

In January 2015, officers with the Mankato Department of Public Safety, New Ulm Police Department, and the Blue Earth and Nicollet County Sheriff’s Offices coordinated to conduct a reverse sting targeting sex buyers. During the investigation, a “cooperating individual” placed a decoy advertisement on a website known for commercial sex sales; she then arranged to meet the men who responded to the listing at a Mankato hotel. Five sex buyers were arrested as a result; their names, ages, and hometowns were released to the public. In the days following the operation, media reported that four of the five men arrested had been served both felony and misdemeanor solicitation charges, since the hotel where they were arrested was close to a city park.

In a public statement, a representative with the Mankato DPS reported that law enforcement launched the sting as “part of a statewide effort to crack down on the sexual exploitation of women and girls,” with “the goal to eliminate the demand for prostitutes.” She added:

“Law enforcement recognizes our city and surrounding communities are not immune to this. These girls and women are being victimized by exploitation. We’re not just out to make arrests, but we’re looking to educate the community.”

In June 2015, the NCSO and Mankato law enforcement conducted a second web-based reverse sting, this time targeting individuals attempting to purchase sex from minors. Ten sex buyers were arrested as a result of the investigation, staged at a Mankato hotel. All of the men’s identities were publicized in the press. When asked about the sting by the St. Peter Herald, a NCSO representative noted:

“We were surprised by the amount of demand… Within five minutes of posting the online advertisement, calls came in to investigators. We stopped at 10 [sex buyers], but we could have arrested many more.”

In July 2015, at least six people were arrested in a reverse sting at a Mankato hotel. The Mankato Department of Public Safety, Blue Earth, Nicollet, and Brown County Sheriff’s Departments cooperated on the sting.

In October 2017, a Mankato man arrested in a June 2017 reverse sting was sentenced to a year of probation by the Nicollet County Court. He received a stay on a year of jail time with the probation and was ordered to serve 40 hours of community service. He was one of four people arrested during a sting in North Mankato conducted by the Nicollet County Sheriff’s Office, New Ulm Police Department, and Mankato Department of Public Safety.

In May 2021, a Mankato man was arrested and charged with prostitution-related offenses, he was accused of offering to pay a 13-year-old girl to sexually abuse her. According to court documents, the victim said she was offered up to $300 plus a vape if she agreed to engage in sexual activity with the 18-year-old and his friends. The victim also alleged the man had previously sexually assaulted her when she was between 7 and 9 years old. The suspect was shown photographs of the messages and told police he was the one who sent them. He was charged with one felony count of prostitution.

Key Partners

Key Sources

Web-Based Reverse Stings:

Other arrests of Sex Buyers:

Community Service:

Sex Trafficking in the Area:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

State Minnesota
Type City
Population 44488
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