Oberlin, OH

Tactics Used

Auto Seizure
Buyer Arrests
Community Service
Employment Loss
Identity Disclosure
IT Based Tactics
John School
License Suspension
Neighborhood Action
Public Education
Reverse Stings
SOAP Orders
Web Stings

Oberlin is a city in northern Ohio, located in Lorain County, and has a population of approximately 8,000 residents. Due to the city’s close proximity to Cleveland, instances of prostitution and sex trafficking have been reported in the city. The city is also home to numerous anti-human trafficking advocacy groups such as Project Unbound and Voices Against Human Trafficking. These organizations are often led by students from the Oberlin College and Conservatory and aim to facilitate conversations and educate students about human trafficking in Ohio. In 2018, Project Unbound hosted an education seminar training students and community members on how demand for commercial sex fuels sex trafficking and prostitution activity.

Loss of employment is a consequence of buying sex in the city. For example, in September 2010, deputies from the Huron County Sheriff’s Office launched an undercover investigation targeting prostitution activity in the area, resulting in the arrest of two male sex buyers, each charged with soliciting prostitution, a third-degree misdemeanor. According to officials, the two arrestees were among “dozens” who responded to requests from an undercover agent posing as a prostituted woman on the same website used in an earlier investigation. Both men had made appointments to meet with the prostituted woman at a Norwalk hotel, requesting sexual acts using props such as a dog cage, bowl, and collar, as well as masking tape, whips, and a rubber ruler. Deputies had surveillance set up in the motel room, along with the various requested bondage props. One of the arrested sex buyers was a coach employed at Firelands High School and a teacher employed at Lorain County Joint Vocational School in Oberlin, but taught online from the Firelands High School campus. As a result of his arrest, the sex buyer was initially placed on administrative leave until further investigation by his employers, but later resigned from both positions.

State Ohio
Type City
Population 8249
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