Summit County, OH

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

Summit County is an urban county in Ohio with approximately 540,000 residents, making it the the fourth-most populous county in Ohio. The county seat and population center is the city of Akron. Prostitution and sex trafficking have been well-documented in the communities and unincorporated areas of Summit County over the decades, and have generated numerous problems leading to complaints and tips from residents and businesses. Among the substantial towns that have experienced significant problems with such issues in Summit County are Macedonia, Green, and Coventry Township.

Among the tactics used to combat these problems are those focused on reducing consumer-level demand for commercial sex, which the Summit County Sheriff’s Office has used, often collaborating with municipal police departments. For example, Green has experienced incidents of armed robberies specifically targeting women advertising prostitution online, and law enforcement has conducted investigations targeting individuals attempting to solicit minors for commercial sex acts. In July 1994, media outlets reported the arrest of a man at a Green motel on felony charges of soliciting a 12-year-old boy for prostitution. The suspect had been intercepted “as the result of an investigation and sting operation [led] by Summit County Sheriff’s deputies” and the man ultimately pleaded guilty.

In November 2008, the Summit County Sheriff’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation collaborated on an operation at a local hotel that arrested 18 individuals on drug and prostitution charges. The investigation, which included possible human trafficking in the county, included undercover operations that resulted in at least 27 total arrests. Some of the charges included soliciting, compelling, and promoting prostitution.

In December 2012,  the Summit County Sheriff’s Office received a complaint regarding prostitution occurring at an office location in Coventry Township. The complainant alleged that men were responding to advertisements for massages and paying women to perform sexual acts. The Summit County Sheriff’s Office initiated an investigation, and a search warrant was executed at the business located in Coventry Township. Several items were seized including cash and client lists. It was determined that women were giving massages and they subsequently received “tips” for performing sexual acts on their clients. Their services were advertised under the adult section of known prostitution websites. Four individuals were arrested and charged with prostitution and promoting prostitution. They were transported to the Summit County Jail.

In 2020, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost acknowledged that human trafficking has been a big problem in Ohio, stating, “When you buy sex, you’re part of that system of modern day slavery.” Yost has proposed creating a “johns school” for convicted sex buyers to attend and creating a public registry of people convicted of buying sex to act as a deterrent. The proposed plan would also separate buying and selling sex into two different charges and enhance penalties for repeat offenders.

In February 2021, more than a dozen men were charged with misdemeanor soliciting and other charges after area law enforcement officials conducted an investigation into online prostitution in Summit and Portage counties. Human trafficking victims were also identified in the operation. The operation took place during a single day at an undisclosed location, targeting sex trafficking that was taking place through websites; the agencies did not release the date and location of the operation to preserve the ability to conduct future investigations and they also declined to state the online platforms for the same reasons. The agencies requested the number of women involved be kept confidential. The names, ages, hometowns, and mugshots of those arrested were released to the public.

In May 2021, the Summit County Sheriff’s Office announced the arrest of 10 men in connection to a recent investigation conducted into human trafficking with the assistance of the Portage County Sheriff’s Office, Stark County Sheriff’s Office, Akron Police Department, Adult Parole Authority, and the Summit County Prosecutor’s Office. The Summit County Sheriff’s Office said that all the men arrested answered online advertisements offering sexual services in exchange for payment. The men’s mugshots and identifiers were included in press releases.

In December, 2022, seventeen men were arrested and charged with engaging in prostitution after an investigation involving several agencies, led by the Jackson Township Police Department and Summit County Sheriff’s Office. Police said the men answered an online advertisement they had placed offering explicit sexual services for payment.

Key Partners

  • Summit County Sheriff’s Office
  • Summit County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Summit County Human Trafficking Force
  • Stark County Sheriff’s Office
  • Portage County Sheriff’s Office
  • Macedonia Police Department
  • Green Police Department
  • Akron Police Department
  • Canton Police Department
  • Ohio Adult Parole Authority

Key Sources

Reverse Stings:

  • “Medina Teacher Denies Charge; Police Say He Paid for Sex with Boy,” Cleveland Plain Dealer, July 1 1994.
  • “Suspect’s Job Status Unknown,” Akron Beacon Journal, July 1 1994.
  • “Junior High Librarian Likely to Retire after Sex Crime Charges,” Akron Beacon Journal, August 17 1994.
  • “Akron; Ex-Teacher Admits Charge,” Cleveland Plain Dealer, November 18 1994.
  • “Akron; Teacher Guilty in Sting,” Cleveland Plain Dealer, November 18 1994.
  • “Former School Librarian Pleads Guilty to Sex Solicitation,” Cleveland Plain Dealer, November 18 1994.
  • “Schools Seeking Way to Fire Ex-Librarian,” Akron Beacon Journal, November 19 1994.

Web-Based Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

Sex Buyer Arrests and Identity Disclosure of Individuals Attempting to Purchase Sexual Abuse of Minors:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:

Documented Violence Against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:

State Ohio
Type County
Population 541013
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