Menominee County, MI

Tactics Used

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

Menominee County is located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and has a population of about 23,000. The county seat is Menominee, a city of about 9,000 residents. Prostitution activity has 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. Arrests for prostitution have occurred in the county dating back to the 1890s.  Among the more serious crimes associated with the local commercial sex market are sex trafficking and violence committed against people involved in these transactions.  For example, In May, 2016, a man was sentenced to federal prison following a guilty plea for inducing and enticing an underage victim to engage in prostitution (Title 18, United States Code, Section 2422(b)). The man had used his position as a barber shop owner and bait shop proprietor to hire minors for the purpose of paying them in return for sexual activities. He was sentenced to 72 months in a Federal Bureau of Prison facility, followed by 10 years of supervised release under Federal Probation. The case was investigated by the Menominee Tribal Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and prosecuted in federal court.

Consumer-level demand provides the revenue stream for all prostitution and sex trafficking, and has therefore been targeted by local law enforcement agencies in their strategy for prevention and response. For example, in August, 2019, seven men were arrested following a human trafficking investigation in northern Menominee County that was intended to reduce the demand for sex trafficking. Law enforcement agencies initiated the operation by placing online advertisements on websites used for prostitution. During the investigation, 32 individuals responded to the website advertisements. Seven men followed through and met with an undercover detective, who posed as a prostituted woman, to pay for services. All seven men were subsequently arrested for Prostitution/Engaging in Services and Using Computers-Internet to Commit Crime and lodged at the Menominee County Jail.  The names of the men were being withheld pending their arraignment, but would then be disclosed to the public.  The operation was a collaborative effort between the Upper Peninsula Substance Enforcement Team, the Bureau of Indian Affairs – Division of Drug Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, Hannahville Tribal Police Department, Michigan State Police Homeland Security Team, and the Michigan State Police Computer Crimes Unit.

Key Partners

  • Upper Peninsula Substance Enforcement Team (UPSET)
  • Hannahville Tribal Police Department
  • Michigan State Police
    • Homeland Security Team
    • Computer Crimes Unit
  • U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs – Division of Drug Enforcement
  • Homeland Security Investigations
State Michigan
Type County
Population 23046
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