Tuscola County, 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

Tuscola County is located in eastern Michigan near Saginaw. Its population is roughly 53,000. Prostitution and sex trafficking within the county are well-documented problems. For example, one local victim reported that she was 14 the first time she was sexually abused by a stranger for money. An ex-boyfriend, who acted as a pimp (sex trafficker) for other young girls, recruited her. Her base rate was $250, and sometimes her traffickers would instruct her to charge extra — $500 or more — because “men who like to have sex with children are willing to pay a premium.”

To address the range of problems associated with the prostitution trade, demand reduction tactics have been employed locally.  For example, in 2010 a 30-year-old woman testified that while headed toward the Tuscola County Jail as a prisoner in a Sheriff’s Deputy’s patrol car, she offered him sex in exchange for her freedom. The Deputy agreed, according to the testimony of the woman, who said the man had intercourse with her while she was “on the front of” his police cruiser. The incident occurred in July 2010 and he resigned his deputy’s job in August 2010, according to the prosecutor. The man had logged 13 years of experience as a deputy at the time of the alleged crimes. His identity was disclosed in news reports. He was also ordered to stand trial on one count of voluntarily allowing a prisoner escape, one count of permitting escape by delaying arrest, one count of willful neglect of duty, five counts of possessing a firearm while committing a felony, and for receiving a bribe for nonperformance of duty by accepting sexual acts or favors from the inmate by delaying her return to jail.

In the city of Vassar, within Tuscola County, similar demand reduction tactics have been employed. For example, in March 2022 it was announced that at least 11 male sex buyers had been arrested during a four-month operation by the Genesee Human Oppression Strike Team (GHOST). One of the arrested men was a former police officer and (at the time of his arrest) was an assistant principal at Vassar Public Schools. The man brought his police badge from Vassar and the village of Oxford to the sting. The offender was immediately terminated from his school position the morning following the investigation. His identity was publicly disclosed in news reports.

Key Partners

  • Tuscola County Sheriff’s Department
  • Vassar Public Schools
  • Genesee Human Oppression Strike Team
State Michigan
Type County
Population 52917
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