Sheboygan, WI

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

Sheboygan is a city of about 50,000 residents located in Sheboygan County, Wisconsin.  It is situated on the Western shore of Lake Michigan, about 40 miles north of Milwaukee.  Prostitution and sex trafficking activity have been documented in the city. For example, in 2017 charges were filed against two people who were arrested in Sheboygan on charges of misdemeanor prostitution, felony threats, and other charges stemming from an encounter in which a woman was hired to come to a man’s home on Illinois avenue twice for sex. The second time, as the woman was leaving the home, gunshots were fired and the woman’s alleged pimp began texting threats to kill the customer and his family for not paying. The sex buyer told Sheboygan Police he paid the woman for sex previously, then she began demanding increasingly higher payments and threatened him if he didn’t pay more.  The victim told police he’d met the woman at a bar in downtown Sheboygan and that he paid her $60 for sex. A week later, the pair arranged for another sexual encounter, but the woman demanded $100 and the man said he refused to pay.

Among local efforts to reduce commercial sex and trafficking have been the use of tactics addressing demand. For example, in 2017 the Wisconsin Attorney General announced the arrest of 25 people in sex trafficking stings across the state, including Sheboygan. The operations were focused in northern and eastern Wisconsin, and the state Department of Justice’s new Human Trafficking Bureau investigated people seeking children for sex and johns who solicit prostitutes.  The DCI said some of the people who were arrested were seeking the paid sexual abuse of 14-and 15-year-old children. Charges included soliciting a prostitute, pandering, soliciting a child for prostitution, attempted second degree sexual assault of a child, child enticement, using a computer to facilitate a child sex crime, exposing a child to harmful material, and exposing a child to harmful narrations. Three of the arrested suspects were from Door and Sheboygan Counties.

In May 2018, a web-based reverse sting resulted in the arrest of one sex buyer.  The Wisconsin Department of Justice posted an online ad under “Sheboygan Escorts” and a special agent posed as a prostituted adult. Prosecutors in Sheboygan County charged the man with misdemeanor prostitution, and with a felony for bail jumping related to a prior offense.
Some arrests of sex buyers in Sheboygan County are the result of investigations driven by tips about specific buyers.  For example, in April, 2021, a Sheboygan man was sentenced to one year of probation on felony prostitution charges.  He had been arrested in September 2020, and court documents said he had responded to ads on Craigslist for sex.  The 17 year old sex trafficking victim said the man would pay her trafficker hundreds of dollars for the encounters, but she never received any of the money.

Key Partners

  • Sheboygan County District Attorney
  • Sheboygan County Sheriff’s Office
  • Sheboygan Police Department
  • Sheboygan Falls Police Department
  • Wisconsin Department of Justice
  • Door County District Attorney
  • Door County Sheriff’s Office
  • Eagle River Police Department
  • Marshfield Police Department
  • McFarland Police Department
  • Monona Police Department
  • Sturgeon Bay Police Department
  • U.S. Marshals
  • Vilas County Sheriff’s Office
  • Wisconsin State Patrol

Key Sources

Web-Based Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

Background on Local Prostitution and Sex Trafficking:


State Wisconsin
Type City
Population 49931
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