Oak Creek is a city of approximately 35,000 residents, located in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin. Prostitution and sex trafficking activity have been well-documented in the city and surrounding communities, and in unincorporated areas of 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. For example, in 2016, Oak Creek police dismantled a prostitution operation that advertised on Backpage.com after the management of a local motel requested that people be removed from one of the rooms based on suspicious activity. During the investigation, an Oak Creek K9 unit signaled the presence of drugs on a room at the motel, which led to the discovery that a subject was running an escort service from out of the motel rooms, and had been posting advertisements on Backpage.com to field customers. The person who ran the escort service was cited for operating without an escort license, and for charges related to possession of crack cocaine.
In June 2018, police in Oak Creek arrested a man during a prostitution operation that had an outstanding arrest warrant and was ordered to the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s office for human trafficking charges. The suspect had two warrants for his arrest in Illinois for residential burglary and aggravated battery-strangulation. In October 2018, Oak Creek police said they cited six women in a prostitution sting over the October 6 weekend, the department’s second sting in a month. The stings involve officers responding to the women’s advertisements and arranging a meet-up at an Oak Creek hotel. Six other women were cited after police used the same tactic Sept. 8. The women cited for providing escort services without a license.
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. To identify and apprehend local sex buyers driving the prostitution and sex trafficking markets, the Oak Creek Police Department has conducted reverse sting. For example, in November 2018 Oak Creek police began targeting solicitors in addition to those providing escort services without a license, and cited two men and four women after using a local hotel to arrange prostitution dates. That comes after stings in September and October in which police cited six women each for lacking an escort license. The identities of the two arrested sex buyers were publicly releases by police.
In December 2018, Oak Creek police conducted a Christmas Eve prostitution sting at a 13th Street Hotel. Four men were arrested during the web-based reverse sting, and their identities included in news releases.
- Oak Creek Police Department
Reverse Stings, Shaming:
- https://patch.com/wisconsin/oakcreek/oak-creek-police-bust-prostitution-operation-motel-6-suspects-used-backpage-com (2016)
- https://www.jsonline.com/story/communities/south/crime/police-reports/2018/11/06/oak-creek-police-cite-6-more-another-prostitution-sting/1903134002/ (2018)
- https://patch.com/wisconsin/oakcreek/christmas-eve-prostitution-sting-results-several-arrests (2018)
Background on Local Prostitution and Sex Trafficking:
- https://patch.com/wisconsin/oakcreek/one-cited-prostitution-after-posting-backpage-com-ad (2017)
- https://patch.com/wisconsin/oakcreek/oak-creek-police-arrest-backpage-com-prostitute-selling-herself-gas-money (2017)
- https://patch.com/wisconsin/oakcreek/prostitution-operation-busted-fairfield-inn-report (2018)
- https://patch.com/wisconsin/oakcreek/prostitution-investigation-leads-arrest-wanted-man-police-human-trafficking (2018)
- https://www.jsonline.com/story/communities/south/crime/police-reports/2018/09/10/six-women-cited-oak-creek-prostitution-sting/1258803002/ (2018)
- https://www.jsonline.com/story/communities/south/crime/police-reports/2018/10/08/oak-creek-police-cite-women-second-prostitution-sting-1-month/1567425002/ (2018)
- https://patch.com/wisconsin/oakcreek/oak-creek-police-conduct-prostitution-sweep-hotel-report (2018)