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Mitchell is a city in, and the county seat of, Davison County, South Dakota. Its population was 15,660 at the 2020 census making it the sixth most populous city in South Dakota. Mitchell is the principal city of the Mitchell Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Davison and Hanson counties. Prostitution and sex trafficking are well-established problems in the city, and have generated related crimes such as rape, assault, drug offenses, and production of child sexual abuse materials (CSAM, often called “child pornography” in criminal codes. For example, in November, 2018, two men were accused of sex trafficking a girl in Mitchell, and faced federal charges for forcing a girl – under the age of 18 – to take part in a commercial sex act, and one defendant was also accused of making “child pornography.”
In July, 2022, two Mitchell women were charged for their roles in the rape of an underaged sex trafficking victim after allegedly punching the victim unconscious. According to an arrest affidavit, a 15-year-old victim reported being raped by two individuals in Mitchell. Authorities were told one of the two suspects punched the victim in the face, and was knocked out prior to the rape. The victim woke up to two individuals performing sexual abuse acts on them. Both defendants claimed they did not know the victim was 15 years old. Among the charges were prostitution, pimping, solicitation of a minor, second-degree rape through force, coercion or threats, and fourth-degree rape of a victim under the age of 16.
Demand reduction tactics have been employed in the city. For example, in January, 2021, a Mitchell man was sentenced to seven years in federal prison after being convicted for conspiracy for sex trafficking, and was also required to register as a sex offender. The conviction stemmed from incidents in July 2018, when two individuals conspired to coerce a 16 year-old girl to engage in a commercial sex act. One picked up the other defendant and the juvenile and took them back to his residence. The sex buyer provided methamphetamine to the trafficker in exchange for sexual abuse of the minor. The identity of the sex buyer was publicly disclosed. The case was investigated by the Mitchell Police Department, the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Clapper prosecuted the case.
- Mitchell Police Department
- South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation
- Federal Bureau of Investigation
Sex Buyer Arrest, Identity Disclosure:
- https://www.mitchellrepublic.com/mitchell-man-receives-7-years-in-federal-prison-for-role-in-sex-trafficking (2020)
- https://www.justice.gov/mitchell-man-sentenced-conspiracy-sex-trafficking (2020)
Background on Prostitution, Sex Trafficking, Related Violence, CSAM: