Monona, WI

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

Monona is a city of about 9,000 residents in Dane County, Wisconsin. The community is completely surrounded by the city of Madison and is part of the Madison Metropolitan Statistical Area. Prostitution and sex trafficking activity have been well-documented in the city and surrounding communities, and in unincorporated areas of Dane County. This activity and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates result in complaints to law enforcement agencies from residents and businesses. Among the more serious problems associated with prostitution in the area are child sex trafficking and violence against people engaged in prostitution. For example, in December 2018, a man and woman were arrested following a stabbing and armed robbery in Monona. One suspect told police the man agreed to pay her for sex and then later refused to pay her all that was owed. The man alleged he had consensual sex with the suspect and she pulled a knife on him when he went to drop her off, and she then demanded money. The man drove to an ATM and withdrew money. The man stated the suspect made him drive over to the gas station to withdraw more money. She then stabbed him in the hand as they argued in his vehicle. The woman was arrested for armed robbery, false imprisonment, prostitution, and injury by negligent handling of a weapon. The man was also arrested for prostitution.

Consumer-level demand provides the revenue stream for all prostitution and sex trafficking, and has therefore been targeted by local law enforcement agencies as a strategy for prevention and response. To identify and apprehend local sex buyers driving the prostitution and sex trafficking markets, the Monona Police Department and Dane County Sheriff’s Office (as well as other state, local, and federal agencies) have collaborated to conduct reverse stings. For example, in August 2017 a reverse sting operation was coordinated with the National Johns Suppression Initiative (NJSI), which started in Cook County, Illinois in 2011. The 2017 NJSI operation occurred between June 28 and July 31, and involved 37 law enforcement agencies across 17 states. The goal was to cut consumer-level demand and therefore lower the number of people solicited for sex, targeting sex buyers and directing victims to support resources in the community. One month after the Brown County Sheriff’s Office announced the arrest of 35 men for sex trafficking, officials announced the results of another similar operation.

In September 2017, the Wisconsin’s Attorney General announced the arrest of 25 men in sex trafficking operations conducted across the state. The web-based reverse stings were focused in northern and eastern Wisconsin, and operations focused on people who solicited sex from either child sex trafficking victims or prostituted persons. Some of the sex buyers arrested were seeking to sexually abuse 14-and 15-year-old children. Charges include soliciting a prostitute, pandering, soliciting a child for prostitution, attempted second degree sexual assault of a child, child enticement, using a computer to facilitate a child sex crime, exposing a child to harmful material, and exposing a child to harmful narrations. The Monona Police Department was one of the agencies collaborating in these operations. To continue efforts to combat the problem, the AG’s office created the Human Trafficking Bureau in 2017, which coordinates statewide operations intended to identify and prosecute these offenses. Suspects from Door and Sheboygan counties that had been charged were identified in news releases. The Wisconsin reverse stings were part of the National Johns Suppression Initiative. In a news release announcing the results of the operations, the Attorney General said:

“The only reason human trafficking exists is because there is a demand for buying sex. Those creating the demand – the johns who buy victims and the pimps who are exploiting them – are not safe to exploit and coerce people in our state. When I was sworn in as attorney general, I put johns on notice. We are coming for you, and for some – we already got you. DOJ’s Human Trafficking Bureau’s arrests this summer will not be the last.”

In December 2018, a sex buyer was arrested and his identity publicized after an incident in which the buyer was stabbed by a prostituting woman after the man allegedly refused to pay her.

Key Partners

  • Monona Police Department
  • Dane County Sheriff’s Office
  • Door County District Attorney
  • Door County Sheriff’s Office
  • Sheboygan County District Attorney
  • Sheboygan County Sheriff’s Office
  • Sheboygan Falls Police Department
  • U.S. Marshals
  • Wisconsin State Patrol
  • Eagle River Police Department
  • Juneau County Sheriff’s Office
  • Kohler Police Department
  • McFarland Police Department
  • Rock County District Attorney
  • Sturgeon Bay Police Department

Key Sources

Web Based Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

Other Sex Buyer Arrest, Identity Disclosure:

Background on Local Prostitution and Sex Trafficking:

State Wisconsin
Type City
Population 8779
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