Perrysburg is a city of approximately 21,000 residents, situated south of Toledo in Wood County, Ohio. Situated along Interstate-75, the city has struggled with prostitution and sex trafficking activity in and around local truck stops and motels for decades. For example, in March 2014 a 16-year-old girl was rescued from a Perrysburg hotel in a human trafficking investigation. The trafficked girl was returned to her family, three people were arrested for solicitation of prostitution, and three others were arrested for promoting prostitution
Much like neighboring Perrysburg Township, the city of Perrysburg has served as the staging ground for at least two prostitution stings resulting in the arrest of multiple johns. In April 2012, the Wood County Sheriff’s Office conducted an undercover investigation into prostitution at a local hotel that netted two prostituted women and seven men on charges of “solicitation.” It is unclear if the operation employed traditional reverse sting tactics (i.e., an undercover female officer or informant posing as a decoy), but is likely the WCSO consciously targeted sex buyers during the operation. The names, hometowns, and mugshots of all of the arrestees were publicized in local media outlets.
In early December 2013, the WCSO reported that it had conducted a “human-trafficking sting” in conjunction with the Perrysburg Police Department and State of Ohio Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation, at an undisclosed hotel in Perrysburg off Fremont Pike. Six men were arrested over the course of the operation; four were charged with solicitation of a prostitute (a third-degree misdemeanor in the state of Ohio), one was charged with “attempted solicitation” (a fourth-degree misdemeanor), and one was charged with promoting prostitution (a fourth-degree felony). All of the offenders’ names, hometowns, and arrest photos were distributed to the public. Notably, the WCSO did not arrest two women “present at the hotel” during the sting, as “officials believed they were there against their will.”
- Wood County Sheriff’s Office
- Perrysburg Police Department
- State of Ohio Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation
- Reverse Stings:
- “Eight Arrested in Perrysburg Sting, Some Charges Dropped”, NBC/WNWO-TV 49, April 20 2012.
- “Human-Trafficking Sting in Perrysburg Nets 6”, Toledo Blade, December 6 2013.
- “Officials Arrest NW Ohio Men in Perrysburg Prostitution Sting”, NBC/WNWO-TV 49, December 6 2013.
- “Local Briefs; 12-07-13”, Bowling Green Sentinel-Tribune, December 7 2013.
- “6 Arrested in Sting in Perrysburg”, Toledo Blade, December 7 2013.
- Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:
- Background on Prostitution in the Area: