Southfield, 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

Southfield is a city in Oakland County, Michigan with a population of approximately 76,000. It is a northern suburb abutting the city limit of Detroit, MI. Prostitution and sex trafficking have been well-documented problems in the city and throughout Oakland County for decades. For example, in February 2013 the Michigan State Attorney General’s Office announced that their Human Trafficking Unit had filed criminal charges against a man and a woman accused of sex trafficking a young woman in southeast Michigan. The charges resulted from an investigation by the Southfield Police Department, with assistance from the FBI through the Southeast Michigan Crimes Against Children Task Force (SEMCAC), in response to a report of assault at a local Southfield hotel. According to the report released by Attorney General Bill Schuette, a woman allegedly lured the young female through promises of a good salary. However, two sex traffickers collected all of her earnings and threatened her with violence if she resisted. On one occasion, the male sex trafficker violently assaulted the young woman, resulting in serious injury. Criminal charges filed against the pair in Southfield’s 46th District Court in February of 2013 included:

  • Human Trafficking – Recruiting for Forced Labor (a 10-year felony)
  • Human Trafficking – Forced Labor for a Commercial Sex Act (a 20-year felony)
  • Human Trafficking –  Forced Labor Causing Serious Physical Harm (a 20-year felony)
  • Human Trafficking –  Financially Benefitting from a Human Trafficking Venture (a 10-year felony)
  • Criminal Enterprises – Acquire/ Maintain (Racketeering) (a 20-year felony)
  • Torture, a felony punishable by life in prison

Violence among those involved in prostitution has also been document in Southfield, MI. For example, during a prostitution sting in January 2016, law enforcement killed a suspected pimp/sex trafficker and fugitive after he fired a shot at an FBI task force officer during a struggle with several members of the FBI’s Southeast Michigan Trafficking and Exploitation Crimes task force. The officer was wearing a bulletproof vest.

Among the tactics used to address problems associated with prostitution and sex trafficking are those targeting consumer-level demand. For example, in July 2013, the FBI and members of the Southeast Michigan Crimes against Children Task Force made 59 arrests in addition to seizing $60,000 and numerous vehicles across Oakland, Wayne, Macomb and Genesee counties as a result of a nationwide three-day child sex trafficking sweep called Operation Cross County VII. These operations are conducted annually by local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. Throughout the state of Michigan, the FBI Detroit Field Office, together with members of the Southeast Michigan Crimes against Children Task Force, arrested a total of 59 individuals suspected of prostitution offenses, 18 individuals on charges of pimping/sex trafficking, and rescued 10 juvenile victims. Within the city of Southfield, authorities arrested a total of 20 individuals, ten on charges of pimping/sex trafficking, and three juvenile victims were rescued.

Key Partners

State Michigan
Type City
Population 75898
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