Otsego County, MI

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

Otsego County is located in northern Michigan, and has a population of about 25,000. The largest city and county seat is Gaylord. Prostitution activity is well documented in the city of Gaylord and in the surrounding towns and unincorporated areas within the county. Among the numerous crimes and other problems associated with prostitution in the county are cases of prostituted persons failing to disclose their HIV infection while continuing in prostitution, and prostitution being used as a pretext to commit armed robbery against sex buyers. For example, in 2014 Gaylord police received a tip about prostituted persons working out of area hotels. Police investigated and confirmed one of the individuals was HIV positive, and that she had been meeting a list of sex buyers in the Gaylord area. Gaylord police said these prostitution rings include local individuals as well as those from surrounding communities and southern Michigan. In July 2016, police arrested another Otsego County woman who was HIV positive and engaged in prostitution with multiple sex buyers without telling them about her virus. In December 2016, three suspects were arrested and charged with multiple offenses for luring a man through prostitution solicitation to rob him at gunpoint a Gaylord motel.

Among the tactics used to address such problems are those focusing on consumer-level demand for prostitution. For example, in May 2018, an Otsego County surgeon was arrested in a prostitution sting operation set up by Michigan State Police narcotics officers. The suspect responded to an online advertisement and called an undercover officer posing as a prostituted person to set up a meeting at a hotel, at an undisclosed location within Otsego County. The man was charged with solicitation of prostitution and using a computer to commit a crime. He was also fired from his job at Otsego Memorial Hospital, and had his identity disclosed to the media by law enforcement officials. The Assistant County Prosecutor said that the local narcotics team had been given a directive to do stings targeting prostitution, specifically looking for sex buyers. The arrest was part of a statewide initiative to fight human trafficking in Michigan

Key Partners

  • Michigan State Police
  • Gaylord Police Department
  • Otsego County Prosecutor’s Office
State Michigan
Type County
Population 25289
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