Montgomery County, OH

Tactics Used

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

Montgomery County has a population of approximately 532,000 making it the fifth-most populous county in Ohio.  The county seat is Dayton, and Montgomery County is part of the Dayton, Ohio Metropolitan Statistical Area. Dayton has approximately 140,000 residents, and is located 50 miles north of Cincinnati. Numerous problems associated with the local commercial sex market have been documented in the county, including targeted homicides of sex sellers and individuals arrested for selling sex while HIV-positive.

In response to chronic prostitution activity in the city, and the numerous health and safety problems it generates, law enforcement agencies have pursued an aggressive and comprehensive strategy to identify and arrest sex buyers. Officers began conducting street-level reverse stings in 1989; operations are now routinely conducted, often using one or more undercover female officers as decoys. As men attempt to solicit sex from the women, they are apprehended by a backup team. Once arrested, johns frequently have their names released to the media.  Recent examples include a web-based operation conducted in December 2017.  An ad was placed online and a detective posed as a prostitute in arranging meetings to exchange sex for money. Arrests were made at the meetup location when the buyers arrived and continued arranging for the commercial sex exchange.  The Dayton Police Street Crimes Unit said the internet sting led to the arrest of 14 men; police also seized 13 cars and 13 cell phones.  Prosecutors charged the suspects with soliciting, use of criminal tools and some people are facing minor drug charges.  Detectives said their 3-day stings usually lead to the arrest of more than 10 people.

Shaming is also a tactic used in cities within the county. In 1993, the Dayton police placed an advertisement in a local paper listing the names and identities of men recently arrested in a john sweep.  Photos and identifiers of arrested johns are routinely release to news outlets. Dayton police have also at times sent letters to the homes of individuals whose cars are seen idling in areas known for commercial sex sales. In January 2019, the city of Dayton announced an initiative called “Buyer’s Remorse” designed to modernize its approach to combating prostitution and sex trafficking.  It will make the information on anyone caught buying sex in Dayton “very” public, with the identities of convicted sex buyers included in social media ads that are geo-targeted to the offenders’ locations; their their names and addresses will added to a map on  The names and addresses of people convicted of selling sex will not be published though. In June 2008, city law enforcement partnered with the Dayton Municipal Court’s Adult Probation Department to create a john school. Enrollment is limited to first-time offenders, and all participants must pay a $250 enrollment fee. Once accepted into the program, johns must attend a day-long course that includes presentations from probation officers, city prosecutors, and public health officials. Between 2008 and 2010, 139 men completed the course, and only two are known to have subsequently re-offended.

In the city of Harrison  (a suburb of Cincinnati), police have responded to complaints from residents by conducting street level reverse stings. Most of these operations occur along a road known for prostitution, arresting several johns each time. The police department encourages citizens to call with information or complaints. Englewood is located in the northern suburbs of Dayton, and similar to most other communities in surrounding Montgomery County, has reported problems with prostitution and sex trafficking for several years, with activities frequently arranged online and occurring in local hotels and motels. To address these issues, the Englewood Police Department partnered with Dayton police to conduct a web-based reverse sting in December 2014. Officers arrested 10 sex buyers over a three-day period. All of the men’s identities were released to the public. Riverside is located east of Dayton. In April 2014, officers from the Riverside Police Department conducted a web-based reverse sting to intercept johns attempting to purchase sex online. Within minutes of posting the ad, police received almost two dozen responses to the listing. Ultimately, six individuals, including at least one sex buyer, were arrested. All of the offenders’ names were released to the public.

In April, 2018, six people were arrested during an internet prostitution sting conducted in Harrison Twp. by the Montgomery County Regional Agencies Narcotics and Gun Enforcement task force, and was focused on prostitution-related advertisements posted on various websites. Undercover detectives took six people into custody who were arrested and booked into the Montgomery County Jail on suspicion of soliciting and possession of criminal tools. In February, 2019, five men were arrested during an internet prostitution sting conducted by the Montgomery County Regional Agencies Narcotics and Gun Enforcement task force, and were booked on suspicion of soliciting and criminal tools charges into the Montgomery County Jail.

Key Partners

  • Montgomery County Regional Agencies Narcotics and Gun Enforcement Task Force
  • Dayton Police Department
  • Englewood Police Department
  • Regional Sex Trade Organized Response Unit (R-STORM)
  • Harrison Township Police Department
  • Riverside Police Department

Key Sources

John School:

Street-Level Reverse Stings with Shaming:

Web-Based Reverse Stings with Shaming:


Auto Seizure:


Proposed SOAP Orders:

Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

Documented Violence against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:


State Ohio
Type County
Population 532331
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