Moorhead is the largest city in northwest Minnesota, with a population of roughly 35,000. It is the Minnesota portion of the Fargo, North Dakota metropolitan area. The Moorhead Police Department, along with the Fargo Police Department and Cass County Sheriff’s Office, have reported a substantial prostitution problem, particularly in local hotels and motels. Most of the sale of sex is arranged via the internet.
Police and advocacy groups report that sex trafficking is also increasing in the area due to the economic boom related to the Bakken oilfield production, and the influx of male workers in the region. At least one case of sex trafficking of minors– involving a 13-year-old girl– has also been documented in the community.
In an effort to reduce the demand for prostitution, the Moorhead Police Department conducts periodic reverse stings, and released the names of arrested johns since at least 2008. In April 2014, for example, two johns were arrested following a reverse sting a Moorhead hotel. Their identities were publicized by several media outlets.
- Moorhead Police Department
- Reverse Stings (with Shaming since at least 2008):
- “Man with History of Prostitution Caught Again,” Grand Forks Herald, June 28 2006.
- “Prostitution Sting Leads to Two Men Being Arrested,” ABC/WDAY-TV 6, April 3 2014.
- “Moorhead Prostitution Sting Leads to Two Men Being Arrested,” Grand Forks Herald, April 4 2014.
- “Prostitution Bust in Moorhead,” KMJO-FM 104.7, April 4 2014.
- Web-Based Reverse Stings with Shaming:
- Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:
- “Moorhead Police Charge Two with Sex-Trafficking 13-Year-Old,” Grand Forks Herald, July 12 2014.
- “Bail Set in New Child Rape Charges against Accused Sex Trafficker,” Grand Forks Herald, October 15 2014.
- “Fargo Man Accused of Working for 5 Months to Lure Women into Prostitution Scheme,” Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, November 21 2014.
- “Accused Child Sex Trafficker Says He Was in Moorhead to See Family,” Willmar West Central Tribune, March 18 2015.
- “Defense Wants Mistrial Declared in Moorhead Sex Trafficking Case,” KFGO-AM 790, May 5 2015.
- “Photo of Leashed Young Woman Led Cops to Alleged Sex Trafficker in Moorhead,” Bemidji Pioneer, April 4 2016.
- Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “Datelines: Region Dancers Charged with Prostitution,” Grand Forks Herald, September 3 1988.
- “Three Little Prostitutes… Put Moorhead City Manager in a Squirmy Squeeze,” Fargo Examiner, December 17 2010.
- “Police Chiefs Meet to Hash out Uniform Adult Dancing Laws, Cities Try to Agree Upon General Themes in Enforcement,” Grand Forks Herald, January 12 2013.
- “A License to Strip? Moorhead Proposal Is Laid Bare,” Minneapolis Star-Tribune, January 25 2013.