Mounds View is a suburb of St. Paul, MN, in Ramsey County, and has a population of about 12,000. Prostitution has been recently identified as a local problem, particularly indoors in hotels and massage parlors, which has generated complaints to law enforcement. The Mounds View Police Department has, in turn, begun to focus on demand to alleviate local problems with commercial sex. In October 2013, MVPD officers arrested 19 men at a motel after they responded to “decoy” online ads for prostitution. All arrestees were booked at the Ramsey County Jail on gross misdemeanor charges of engaging in prostitution in a public place and then released pending formal charges.
Additionally, Ramsey County prosecutors have been actively working with the lodging industry to curb local prostitution, as the MVPD has stated that the majority of solicitations appear to be initiated online through classified ads on sites like Backpage.com, and finalized in one of several local hotels.
When asked about the recent operation, Mounds View police stated that the web sting targeted the underlying demand for prostitution as a means ultimately helping keep young runaways and other women from getting involved in human trafficking. The St. Paul Police Department, Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office, Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, and the MVPD all participated in the investigation.
- Web-Based Reverse Stings:
- “Mounds View Adman Arrested in Prostitution Sting”, Minneapolis Star Tribune, October 31 2013.
- “19 Arrested in Mounds View Motel Prostitution Bust”, FOX/KMSP-TV 9, November 1 2013.
- “19 Men Arrested in Mounds View Prostitution Sting”, ABC/KAAL-TV 6, November 1 2013.
- “19 Men Arrested in Mounds View Prostitution Sting”, NBC/KARE-TV 11, November 1 2013.
- Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “City’s Massage Parlor Code Might Get Stricter; Prostitution Arrests Prompt Charges”, St. Paul Pioneer Press, February 8 2009.
- “Prostitution Arrests Prompt Mounds View Officials to Tweak Code on Massage Licenses”, St. Paul Pioneer Press, February 8 2009.
- “Mounds View Proposes Moral Test for Massage Parlor Licenses”, Minneapolis Star Tribune, February 19 2009.