Monroe County, IN

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

Monroe County, Indiana is located in southern Indiana, southwest of Indianapolis and northwest of Louisville, KY. Its population was approximately 147,000 at the 2020 census, and the county seat and population center is the city of Bloomington (pop. 85,000). Prostitution activity has been well-documented within 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 crimes associated with the local commercial sex market is sex trafficking. A wide range of additional crimes associated with the local sex trade have also been documented, including child sex trafficking and prostitution-related violence. For example, in January, 2017, a man alleged he was robbed of his wallet by a woman he intended to pay for sex. Police responded to a call to a convenience store in the 1100 block of West 11th Street, where the man admitted he had gone to the convenience store to meet with a prostituted woman he found on Craigslist. The woman got into his car, and the two didn’t travel far before they stopped to argue about money. Then a man walked up to the sex buyer’s car, briefly spoke to the woman, and then the two demanded money. The man punched the sex buyer in the face and the woman took his wallet. The buyer said he tried to fight back, but his attacker pulled out what appeared to be a handgun. In 2019, a man wanted for charges of human trafficking and prostitution in Monroe County was apprehended by the Indiana State Police. The Monroe County District Attorney’s office released a report announcing that the man had been taken into custody. The Monroe County District Attorney had previously sought public assistance in locating the suspect, who had been a fugitive. He was previously seen at a hotel in  Tannersville with a 19-year-old woman who detectives determined to be a victim of human trafficking. According to the District Attorney’s release, the man is an alleged pimp with a history of sex trafficking minors. He was known to have several prostituted and trafficked people working under his control in hotels throughout multiple states.

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. In 1984, an Indiana University professor was convicted of felony promoting prostitution and misdemeanor “soliciting a prostitute” by a Monroe Circuit Court jury. The man admitted he discussed sex and planned to pay for sex with two women who turned out to be police informants. The man was placed on leave from the university. His identity was publicly disclosed.

Police have arrested both prostituted women and male sex buyers through the use of web-based reverse stings, opportunistic arrests, and police informants.  The first known reverse sting in the city occurred in 1984.  The names, ages, and professions of the men arrested have been reported by local media outlets. In March, 2009, an Indiana University Police officer made an arrest during an undercover sting. The officer says he chatted online with a registered sex offender, who agreed to exchange sex for money. The alleged prostitution agreement took place on Craigslist. The man had only been out of prison for a few months when police received an anonymous tip, and set up the undercover sting.  The offender agreed to meet who he thought was his craigslist acquaintance on the IU campus, and was arrested. The same campus police officer arrested the man several years previously, for an offense involving trying to persuade a 16- and 17-year-old to engage in  prostitution.

Employment loss and disclosure of sex buyer identities are tactics that have been used within the county.  For example, in December, 2009, a Monroe County Sheriff’s Office reserve deputy who also worked for the Indiana University Police Department was suspended after Bloomington Police arrested him and he was charged for “patronizing a prostitute.” Police said that they were investigating a report of a 19-year-old woman who claimed that a man, who said he was a photographer, offered her five dollars and a pack of cigarettes in exchange for sex. Police worked with the woman to set up a meeting with the “photographer” at a store parking lot. Bloomington Police said the man showed us as arranged, and again asked for “the same deal” — money and cigarettes for a sex. Police served the man a summons to appear in court for the preliminary charge of patronizing a prostitute. He was suspended with pay by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department. Both agencies said his employment status depended on the outcome of the case.

Key Partners

  • Monroe County Sheriff’s Office
  • Monroe County District Court
  • Monroe County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Bloomington Police Department

Key Sources

Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

Web-Based Reverse Sting, Identity Disclosure:

Employment Loss, Identity Disclosure:

Background on Sex Trafficking, Prostitution in the Area:

Documented Violence Committed Against Persons Involved in Local Prostitution:

State Indiana
Type County
Population 147318
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