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Nisswa is a city in Crow Wing County, Minnesota, and is part of the Brainerd Micropolitan Statistical Area, near Gull Lake. Its population is about 1,750. Prostitution and sex trafficking activity have been well-documented in these cities and surrounding communities (such as Nisswa and Breezy Point), and in unincorporated areas of the Crow Wing 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.
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 November, 2017, a conference of the Minnesota Sex Crimes Investigators Association featured a session led by a Minneapolis police member of the department’s human trafficking team. When discussing Operation Guardian Angel—a team of investigators who use technology to fight demand for sex trafficking—the officer posted a live advertisement as an instructional tool. Answering was 58-year-old man from Owosso, MI, who allegedly told an officer posing as a young woman advertising sex he was headed to the Brainerd area and wanted to meet up. According to a criminal complaint he continued to pursue sex for money even after the undercover officer told him the girl was almost 16 years old. The officer consulted the Nisswa Police Chief about following through with the operation. With the core team of Operation Guardian Angel present for the conference and a willing buyer, it was an opportunity to make an arrest, just as they’ve done in seven states and with more than 30 jurisdictions in the state of Minnesota (over 1,000 men had been arrested by the team since it began in February 2014 through October, 2017). After responding to the ad the man arrived at the prearranged location to meet who he thought was a 15-year-old girl. Instead, he met Nisswa police and was arrested then booked in the Crow Wing County Jail and appeared in Crow Wing County District Court, facing charges for three felonies: hiring for prostitution an individual believed to be between the ages of 13-16, soliciting a child to engage in sexual conduct and fifth-degree sale of marijuana. The first charge carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison, a $40,000 fine or both.
- Nisswa Police Department
- Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Office
- Crow Wing County Jail
- Crow Wing County District Court,
- Minnesota Sex Crimes Investigators Association
Web-Based Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:
- http://www.grandforksherald.com/four-arrested-another-brainerd-lakes-prostitution-sting (2015)
- https://minnesotanewsnetwork.com/2-men-arrested-in-brainerd-sex-trafficking-sting-2-more-face-charges/ (2015)
- http://www.parkrapidsenterprise.com/brainerd-attorney-formally-charged-prostitution-sting-after-delay (2015)
- http://www.postbulletin.com/brainerd-man-faces-prostitution-related-charges (2015)
- “‘Johns’ Charged in Baxter Prostitution Sting,” Brainerd Dispatch, June 24 2015.
- “2 Arrested in Second Baxter Prostitution Sting,” Brainerd Dispatch, June 26 2015.
- Sting Nets 2 Prostitution Arrests in Breezy Point,” Pineandlakes Echo Journal, October 19 2015.
- “Sting Nets 2 Prostitution Arrests in Breezy Point,” Brainerd Daily Dispatch, October 19 2015.
- https://fallsradio.com/second-prostitution-sting-in-baxter-nets-two-more-johns-tuesday/ (2015)
- “Charges Filed in Breezy Prostitution Sting,” Pineandlakes Echo Journal, November 24 2015.
- http://www.brainerddispatch.com/law-enforcement-sting-solicitation-cases-now-complete (2017)
- https://www.wctrib.com/sex-sting-training-nets-actual-arrest-nisswa-man-faces-felonies-soliciting-juvenile (2017)
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