Richmond is a city of approximately 37,000 residents, located roughly equidistant between Indianapolis and Dayton in Wayne County, Indiana. In an effort to reduce prostitution in the city, the Richmond Police Department has conducted at least two street-level reverse stings.
The two operations were conducted in September 2013, roughly one week apart (on September 7th-8th, and on September 13th). According to the RPD, the investigations were spurred by “at least 10 complaints of prostitution” from local residents and businesses. Both stings employed undercover female officers, who posed as prostituted women working along North and South A Streets and between 10th and 15th Streets. Thirteen johns were arrested as a result. During the latter investigation, one sex buyer allegedly “led police on a [90 mph] high-speed chase when police attempted to arrest him,” and the arrest was made when the suspect crashed the vehicle.
In the first of the two reversals, which led to five arrests, officers were on the special detail for about four hours. The undercover decoy worked under the observation of officers stationed on foot and in vehicles in the area. On each occasion after hitting the streets, the decoy was approached within 8 to 10 minutes by men in vehicles wanting to buy sex. Many reportedly frove around several times before stopping, Some offered to pay as little as $10 in exchange for sexual activity, and the typical range was $20-$40 for services from oral sex to intercourse. Some of the men, when told they were under arrest, tried to throw their cars in gear and flee, and were later charged with a felony for using a vehicle to resist arrest, in addition to the misdemeanor for patronizing a prostitute.
The demand-driven initiatives represent a shift in Richmond and Wayne County’s approach to curbing prostitution; when reports emerged of sex trafficking at two local massage parlors in 2008, law enforcement did not arrest “men who [had] paid [the allegedly trafficked] women to perform sex acts and to give them showers, a misdemeanor in Indiana.” According to media reports, the johns were not charged in exchange for providing police with information about the illegal businesses. By contrast, when asked for comment about their fall 2013 operations, RPD detectives stated that “[prostitution] is a public safety disorder issue and a quality of life issue… we had three women come to us and complain that they had been approached by men seeking prostitutes.”
- Reverse Stings and Shaming:
- “Prostitution”, Richmond Palladium-Item, July 17 2004.
- “7 Men Arrested in Richmond, Ind. Sex Sting”, CBS/WHIO-TV 7, September 9 2013.
- “More Men Arrested for Soliciting Undercover Prostitutes”, WHON 101.7 FM, September 16 2013.
- “Six Men Arrested in Richmond Prostitution Sting”, CBS/WHIO-TV 7, September 16 2013.
- “RPD Clamps Down on Prostitution”, Richmond Palladium-Item, September 23 2013.
- “The Many Victims of Prostitution; RPD Commended for a Timely, Needed Crackdown”, Richmond Palladium-Item, September 24 2013.
- http://kicks96.com/local-news/357546 (2018)
- Sex Trafficking in the Area:
- “Human Trafficking Suspected at Two Richmond Massage Parlors”, CBS/WHIO-TV 7, May 21 2008.
- “Police Raid Massage Parlors”, Richmond Palladium-Item, May 21 2008.
- “Massage Parlor Busts; Alleged Ringleader Arrested”,CBS/WHIO-TV 7, May 22 2008.
- “Woman Admits Delivering Koreans”, Richmond Palladium-Item, May 22 2008.
- “Police Eye Spas for Two Years”, Richmond Palladium-Item, May 23 2008.
- “Spa Case Became Long, Sad Journey”, Richmond Palladium-Item, June 15 2008.
- “Massage Parlor Shut Down”, Richmond Palladium-Item, March 19 2009.
- “Madam Ties to Local Prostitution Sting Sentenced in Kentucky”, Richmond Palladium-Item, August 28 2009.
- Background on Prostitution in the Area: