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Toledo is a city of approximately 277,000 residents, located along the northwestern border of Ohio in Lucas County. Prostitution and sex trafficking have been identified by law enforcement as substantial problems in the city. This activity and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates have resulted in complaints to law enforcement agencies from residents and businesses. Among the crimes associated with the local commercial sex market is the homicide of prostituted persons and others associated with this activity. For example, in 2000, a Toledo man was found guilty for the murder of a prostituted woman and the rape of another. In 2006, a Toledo serial killer admitted to killing five prostituted women in and around the city.
In response to the wide range of concerns about the local consequences of commercial sex, the Toledo Police Department has constructed an aggressive and comprehensive strategy that incorporates tactics targeting demand. City police were among the first in the country to implement the use of street-level reverse stings in 1975; operations have been routinely conducted, using one or more undercover female officers as decoys. As sex buyers attempt to solicit sex from undercover officers, they are apprehended by police. Since 1991, arrested sex buyers may have their vehicles seized and impounded. In addition, as a warning to other potential sex buyers, the TPD may also release arrestees’ names and other identifying information to the local media.
Loss of employment is another consequence of buying sex that has occurred in the city. For example, in April 2020, a Toledo-based plastic surgeon pleaded guilty to a number of charges related to drugging and raping prostituted women. According to a court filing in U.S. District Court, an investigation into the man began in January 2019 alleging that he improperly drugged and performed sex acts on an adult female high-end “escort” in 2016 while he was in Los Angeles. Court records also stated that the man traveled to medical conferences in large urban areas including Chicago in March and April 2013, Cleveland in April 2013, Miami/Ft. Lauderdale in June 2015 and July 2019, Los Angeles in September 2016, and various other dates in San Francisco and Detroit. The man would often stay at centrally located hotels in these cities and hire prostituted women in the area. He would then administer incapacitating drugs to his victims and perform sexual acts of violence without their consent. At the time of his arrest in 2020, the man was a board-certified plastic surgeon and medical doctor licensed by the State of Ohio and Michigan, and owned and practiced at Artisan Cosmetic & Reconstructive Surgery in Toledo. Employees at his office found recordings on SD cards showing him engaging in sex with motionless women, items used for sex, and narcotics. Prosecutors said they had recordings from more than 20 different unconscious victims. After his felony convictions his hospital privileges and medical licenses were revoked.
In January 2022, a former St. Michael the Archangel pastor who had been federally charged with sex trafficking of children and adults faced a plea agreement deadline. The man was charged with two counts of sex trafficking of an adult by force, fraud, and coercion, two counts of sex trafficking of a minor by force, fraud, or coercion, and one count of sex trafficking of a minor. The man had been indicted in October 2020. He was taken into federal custody in August 2020 by the Northwest Ohio Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force. The alleged offenses involve two former students of Catholic schools in Toledo over a period of years. The man was alleged to have preyed upon boys, and later men, who needed money for their drug addictions. From about 1999 to 2006 the priest allegedly recruited, enticed, harbored, transported, or obtained a minor teen victim, knowing he would be caused to engage in a commercial sex act. From about 2017 to 2020, when that same victim was an adult, the man was alleged to have caused him to engage in a commercial sex act by force, fraud, or coercion. Two additional counts of sex trafficking of a minor by force, fraud, or coercion involved a different victim. One count was alleged to have occurred from about June 2009 to August 2010 when the victim was about 15-16 years old. The other count was alleged to have occurred with the same victim from about June 2010 to June 2011. A remaining count of sex trafficking of an adult by force, fraud, or coercion was alleged to have occurred from about June 2015 to January 2020, involving a third victim.
TPD anti-prostitution initiatives have uncovered several sex trafficking networks operating in the city. For example, in 2005, federal agents identified 77 young women and girls from the Toledo area who had been transported to Pennsylvania and other states for purposes of prostitution. Reports have identified the city as the 3rd largest hub for domestic minor sex trafficking in the nation. To address the issue, the Toledo Health Department has collaborated with the FBI to train public servants to better identify potential trafficking victims when and if they appear in the city’s correctional and healthcare facilities. In late 2012, Representative Teresa Fedor of Toledo sponsored and successfully passed the Safe Harbor Act in the Ohio House of Representatives, effectively creating “a two-tier system offering differing penalties and burden of proof, depending on the age of the trafficked person” for those attempting to sexually exploit minors. The legislation also established sex trafficking as “a stand-alone, second-degree felony… that carries a potential prison sentence of eight years.”
Local sex trafficking cases helped spur the creation of a “john school” program in 2010. Led by the Lucas County Human Trafficking Coalition, the Prostitution Offender Program of Lucas County was a diversion program limited to sex buyers without prior prostitution-related offenses. In exchange for completing the daylong course, which included presentations from local law enforcement, public health officials, and former prostituted women, first-time offenders could have their cases sealed. The program began in 2013, and as of 2018, the john school was still operating and was named “First Offender Prostitution Program – Lucas County.” The fee paid by arrested sex buyers was $300, and the program incurred no cost to taxpayers. Participants were required to attend a one-time class and remain free from reoffending for one year in order to receive a lesser penalty. Men who attended were taught the following:
• Health risks associated with prostitution
• Connection between commercial sex and sex trafficking
• Legal consequences
• Encouraged to explore the psycho-social reasons they paid for sex
In response to a survey conducted in 2021 by the NCOSE team for a National Institute of Justice grant to update and expand Demand Forum (Grant #2020-75-CX-0011), representatives from the Toledo Police Department reported that they have also used community service as a consequence for convicted sex buyers.
National Assessment (2012)
National Assessment II (2021)
- https://www.huffpost.com/entry/holding-men-accountable-f_b_698121 (2010)
- “‘John School’ Offers New Perspective”, Toledo Blade, April 4 2011.
- http://www.wtol.com/story/24807035/special-report-undercover-sex-sting-in-nw-ohio (2014)
- Overview of John Schools in Ohio (2015)
- https://www.dispatch.com/news/20200123/ohio-legislators-propose-contrasting-routes-against-prostitution-john-registry-funding-for-court-programs (2020)
- “Prostitutes See Arrests of Men as Harassment”, Toledo Blade, July 16 1975.
- “Police Attempting Downtown Cleanup”, Toledo Blade, May 21 1977.
- “New Image Sought for Neighborhood”, Toledo Blade, December 26 1987.
- “When Police Officers Are ‘Johns'”, Toledo Blade, June 26 1990.
- “Police Sting Nets Arrest for Soliciting”, Toledo Blade, April 24 1993.
- “7 Men Face Charges in Prostitution Sting”, Toledo Blade, March 3 1995.
- “Police Sweep North Toledo”, Toledo Blade, August 19 1995.
- “Prostitution Sting Nets Arrests of 12 Johns”, Toledo Blade, June 7 1996.
- “Prostitution ‘Sting’ Results in 7 Arrests”, Toledo Blade, April 15 1999.
- “City Employee Is Arrested in South Toledo Sex Sting”, Toledo Blade, September 10 1999.
- “Toledo Police Charge 5 in Prostitution Sting”, Toledo Blade, August 15 2001.
- “Prostitution Sting Brings 9 Arrests in North Toledo”, Toledo Blade, August 15 2002.
- “Toledo Police Arrest 18 in Prostitution Sting”, Toledo Blade, May 17 2003.
- “City Employee Charged in Soliciting Sting”, Toledo Blade, July 30 2003.
- “North End Prostitution Sting Leads to 10 Arrests”, Toledo Blade, July 31 2003.
- “Prostitutes”, Toledo Blade, September 7 2003.
- “10 People Arrested in Prostitution Sting”, Toledo Blade, August 29 2007.
- “Toledo Civilian Fire Inspector Arrested”, Toledo News Now, June 28 2012.
- “TPD Prostitution Sting Nets 12 Arrests”, Toledo News Now, August 17 2012.
- “Ads to Name Prostitutes, ‘Johns'”, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, December 5 1995.
- “Toledo to Publish Johns Names in Ads”, Toledo Blade, October 10 1996.
- “North Toledo Declares War on Prostitution, Drug Dealers”, Toledo Blade, July 24 1991.
- “Readers’ Forum: JOHNS Project Needs the Police”, Toledo Blade, August 22 1991.
- “Toledo Police Force Ends Prostitute Crackdown”, Bryan Times, July 17 1992.
- “Coalition Aims to Reform Prostitutes”, Toledo Blade, October 15 1992.
- “Residents Fight to Rid Neighborhood of Prostitutes, Drug Dealers, Other Crime”, Owusso Argus-Press, November 21 1992.
- “Ad Lists Men Arrested”, Tuscaloosa News, December 7 1992.
- “Crackdown”, Toledo Blade, March 31 1993.
- “Prostitution Arrests Down, Complaints Up”, Toledo Blade, September 11 1993.
- “North Toledo to Give Hook to Hookers, Backs Action on ‘Johns'”, Toledo Blade, July 17 1991.
- “Editorial: Abandon Auto Forfeiture Plan”, Toledo Blade, December 7 1991.
- “Toledo Undertaking New Approach to Prostitution”, Bryan Times, September 14 1992.
- “Group Backs Prostitution Crackdown”, Toledo Blade, March 31 1993.
- “Johns”, Toledo Blade, January 8 1996.
- “Lawmaker Wants Johns to Forfeit Their Vehicles”, Toledo Blade, January 8 1996.
- “Prostitutes, Their Johns Might Face Loss of Cars”, Toledo Blade, September 9 1996.
- “Panel Passes Plan to Seize Cars Used by Prostitutes’ Customers”, Toledo Blade, October 4 1996.
Sex Buyer Fired or Resigned Due to Arrest:
- https://www.wtol.com/fbi-toledo-plastic-surgeon-drugged-filmed-had-sex-with-women-without-their-consent (2020)
- https://www.justice.gov/usao-ndoh/pr/toledo-physician-pleads-guilty-sex-trafficking-charges (2021)
- https://www.cleveland.com/toledo-area-doctor-pleads-guilty-to-sexual-assault-is-suspect-in-cleveland.html (2021)
- https://www.13abc.com/former-toledo-plastic-surgeon-pleads-guilty-to-sex-trafficking-illegal-substance-charges (2021)
- https://www.toledoblade.com/Toledo-plastic-surgeon-indicted-by-federal-grand-jury (2021)
- https://apnews.com/article/portsmouth-toledo-prostitution-courts-human-trafficking (2021)
- https://thecourier.com/news/363364/priest-faces-deadline-in-sex-case (2022)
Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:
- “Suspect Held After Escape in Columbus: Police Seize Parolee Sought in Toledo on Procuring Charge”, Toledo Blade, November 27 1956.
- “Prostitution Indictments Name Five”, Toledo Blade, February 16 1978.
- “Prostitution Case Brings Indictments”, Toledo Blade, December 22 1978.
- “2 Claim to Have Been Forced into Prostitution”, Toledo Blade, December 21 1989.
- “Toledoan Indicted in Forced Prostitution”, Toledo Blade, September 29 1993.
- “Crackdown Exposes Toledo as Hub of Teen Prostitution”, Toledo Blade, January 8 2006.
- “Prostitution”, Toledo Blade, January 8 2006.
- “FBI Targets Toledo in Teenage Prostitution Ring”, Daily Sentinel, January 9 2006.
- “Police Say Toledo Trio Enslaved 2 Girls Plucked from Busy City Street in May”, Toledo Blade, January 9 2006.
- “Dots on Sex-Trade Picture Largely Went Unconnected”, Toledo Blade, January 10 2006.
- “Teen”, Toledo Blade, January 10 2006.
- “Pimp”, Toledo Blade, August 27 2006.
- “Reputed Local Pimp Leaves Trail of Terror”, Toledo Blade, August 27 2006.
- “Young Toledo Man Indicted for Promoting Prostitution”, Toledo News Now, December 21 2006.
- “2 Toledo Pimps, 2 Helpers Will Testify for Prosecution”, Toledo Blade, March 27 2007.
- “News 11 Investigative Report: Kids for Sale, Part I”, Toledo News Now, November 14 2007.
- “News 11 Investigative Report: Kids for Sale, Part II”, Toledo News Nows, November 14 2007.
- “News 11 Investigative Report: Kids for Sale, Part III”, Toledo News Now, November 14 2007.
- “Teen Suicide Spurs War on Child Prostitution”, Reuters, November 28 2007.
- “Former School Board Candidate Richard Brown Found Guilty”, Toledo News Now, March 28 2008.
- “Toledo Part of National Prostitution Sweep”, Toledo News Now, June 25 2008.
- “Pimp Abducts Ohio Teens”, ABC News, July 17 2008.
- “Toledo Police Chief on Teen Prostitution Story”, ABC News, July 17 2008.
- “Prostitution Sting Nets 53 Arrests in Toledo”, Toledo Blade, October 29 2008.
- “FBI Arrests 18 Adults in Prostitution Sweep That Includes Toledo, Lima”, Toledo News Now, February 23 2009.
- “Prostitution in Toledo”, ABC/KTRK-TV 13, November 13 2009.
- “FBI Trains County Workers to Recognize Victims of Human Trafficking”, Toledo News Now, April 16 2010.
- “Toledoans Indicted on Sex Trafficking of Minors Charges”, Toledo News Now, November 8 2o10.
- “Suspect in Prostitution Trafficking Case Faces Additional Charges”, Toledo Blade, May 5 2011.
- Kaptur, Ohio House of Representatives – Human Trafficking in Ohio (2012)
- “State Rep.: Safe Harbor Act Will Protect Kids”, ABC/WTVG-TV 13, February 9 2012.
- “New Toledo Safe House for Sex Trafficking Victims”, ABC/WTVG-TV 13, February 26 2012.
- “Agents Train at Casino to Spot Signs of Human Trafficking”, ABC/WTVG-TV 13, April 10 2012.
- “Toledoan Gets 10 Years in Sex Case”, Toledo Blade, May 18 2012.
- “2 Toledoans Accused of Juvenile Sex Trafficking”, Toledo Blade, June 6 2012.
- “Child Prostitution Arrests in Toledo, Perrysburg”, ABC/WTVG-TV 13, June 25 2012.
- “30-Year Prison Term Ordered in Teen’s Trafficking”, Toledo Blade, July 4 2012.
- “Domestic Sex Trafficking in Ohio: Research & Analysis Sub-Committee”, Report, Ohio Human Trafficking Commission, August 8 2012.
- “Ohio AG Releases In-Depth Sex Trafficking Report”, Toledo News Now, August 8 2012.
- “Advocates Want to End Human Trafficking”, ABC/WTVG-TV 13, August 21 2012.
- “Toledo Man Faces Child Sex Trafficking Charges”, ABC/WTVG-TV 13, September 19 2012.
- “FBI Needs Help in Toledo Sex Trafficking Case”, ABC/WTVG-TV 13, December 8 2012.
- “Prayer Vigil Held for Sex Trafficking Victims”, Toledo News Now, January 11 2013.
- “National Leader in Human-Trafficking Fight Calls on Ohio to Align with Tougher U.S. Statute”, Toledo Blade, January 12 2013.
- “Editorial: Safer Harbor”, Toledo Blade, January 15 2013.
- “Kidnapped & Forced into Prostitution, Local Woman Fights to Rebuild Life”, ABC/WTVG-TV 13, January 27 2013.
- “Toledo Man Gets 18 Years in Prison for Sex Trafficking”, Toledo Blade, August 27 2014.
- https://www.13abc.com/2021/02/17/men-facing-prostitution-charges-make-court-appearance/ (2021)
- https://www.wtol.com/men-accused-of-forcing-woman-into-prostitution-in-toledo (2021)
- https://www.toledoblade.com/toledo-men-charged-in-forced-prostitution-case-sean-turvey-jakeb-hinson (2021)
- https://www.thenews-messenger.com/story/news/2022/02/23/toledo-man-arrested-fremont-police-internet-sex-sting (2022)
Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “Arrest Records Spotty; Fines, Sentences Light for Prostitutes”, Toledo Blade, October 11 1970.
- “Policeman Tells of Arrest He Made for Prostitution”, Toledo Blade, January 8 1972.
- “10 Women Charged with Soliciting”, Toledo Blade, May 10 1977.
- “Mayor Urges Prostitution Crackdown”, Toledo Blade, May 25 1988.
- “From Truck Stops to Offices, Prostitutes Ply Their Trade”, Toledo Blade, September 5 1988.
- “Some Escort Services in Toledo Offer More than a Woman’s Time”, Toledo Blade, September 5 1988.
- “Prostitution Not Worry of Public, Councilmen Say”, Toledo Blade, September 8 1988.
- “Sizable Brothel Is the Talk of Lucas County”, Toledo Blade, April 3 1990.
- “Three People Indicted in Prostitution Schemes”, Toledo Blade, May 17 1994.
- “Neighborhood Moves Against ‘Trick House'”, Toledo Blade, September 9 1998.
- “Local Group Hopes to Begin Efforts to Help Women Escape Prostitution”, Toledo Blade, January 22 2000.
- “Anti-Prostitution Efforts Criticized”, Toledo Blade, March 29 2001.
- “Workers Needed to Find, Help Prostitutes”, Toledo Blade, January 27 2006.
- “20 Arrested in Prostitution Crackdowns”, Toledo Blade, September 1 2006.
- “Prostitution Sweep Results in 16 Arrests”, Toledo Blade, June 22 2007.
- “Any Investigative Look into Toledo’s Escort Services”, Toledo News Now, March 11 2008.
- “Toledo Police Cracking Down on Craigslist Prostitution”, Toledo News Now, November 7 2008.
- “HIV-Positive Prostitute Indicted in Toledo”, Toledo Blade, November 24 2009.
Documented Violence Against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:
- “One of Four Victims Downtown Are Prostitutes,” Toledo Blade, October 11 1993.
- “Police Report Assaults on Prostitutes”, Toledo Blade, April 4 1997.
- “Police Issue Warrant for Man Accused in Woman’s Rape, Assault,” Toledo Blade, July 19 1997.
- “Toledo Man Is Found Guilty in Prostitute’s Kidnapping and Death”, Bryan Times, April 1 2000.
- “Defendant Admits to Prostitute Murders; Plea Saves Calvin from Death Penalty”, Toledo Blade, October 3 2006.
- “Toledo Trucker Admits to Killing Four”, Bryan Times, October 3 2006.
- “Colvin Tied to 6th Murder; Serial Killer Details Drug Death, Investigators Report”, Toledo Blade, October 4 2006.
- “Serial Killers, Victims Invisible to Outsiders”, Toledo Blade, October 24 2006.
- “Prostitute Jumps from Fleeing Car”, Toledo Blade, April 1 2013.