Vanderburgh County, IN

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

Vanderburgh County is a county of about 180,000 residents located in southwestern Indiana, and Evansville is the county seat and largest city. County law enforcement has fielded complaints about prostitution from residents and businesses for at least two decades. The county has also documented multiple cases of targeted sexual assaults and homicides of prostituted women, and least one case of the sex trafficking of minors.

In their efforts to reduce prostitution activity, the Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office and municipal PDs within the county have conducted periodic reverse stings. For example, officers have conducted street-level reverse stings in Evansville since at least 1995, and have released the names of all individuals charged with prostitution-related offenses to the public since that time. In late February 2015, for example, EPD officers arrested six men during a web-based reversal that utilized decoy online advertisements. Each of the men allegedly responded to the listing and arranged to meet a female undercover officer (posing as a prostituted woman) at an agreed upon location. According to the Evansville Courier & Press, the “transactions” were allegedly recorded using surveillance cameras. All of the sex buyers’ names and arrest photos were publicized by local media outlets.

Local residents have also mobilized to reduce demand for prostitution. In the early 1980s, Evansville drew national press when members of the Blackford’s Grove Neighborhood Association began recording the license plates of cars seen idling and soliciting prostituted women in their neighborhood. Residents then used the license plate numbers to mail postcards to the homes of the vehicles’ owners. The postcards contained a description of “the car, the driver and the time the driver was seen picking up a prostitute[ed person in the neighborhood, with a] request that the activity cease.” When asked about the Dear John letters, Blackford’s Grove Neighborhood Association members stated that they felt compelled to act after several female residents complained about being solicited while walking in the neighborhood.

In December 2018, a man was arrested by deputies of the Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office for allegedly offering to pay a teenager for access to sexually abuse them. The man was accused of sending a 16-year-old inappropriate messages through Facebook, including offering $300 for sexual abuse. He was booked into the Vanderburgh County Jail. The investigation started in late October, after the teenager took a screenshot of the messages and sent them to a family member, who posted them on Facebook. Investigators got a search warrant for the Facebook account to confirm the messages. Investigators believed the man propositioned other people in addition to the teenager.

Key Partners

  • Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office
  • Evansville Police Department

Key Sources

Street-Level Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

  • “Two Men Charged with Patronizing a Prostitute,” Evansville Courier, February 3 1995.
  • “Man Charged with Soliciting,” Evansville Courier, March 16 1995.
  • “Three Face Charges,” Evansville Courier, February 24 1996.
  • “Three Arrested in Sting,” Evansville Courier, March 6 1996.
  • “Former Assessor Denies Soliciting,” Evansville Courier, March 8 1996.
  • “Giving Johns the Sting,” Evansville Courier, July 26 1997.
  • “2 Warrick Men Accused of Soliciting Undercover Officer,” Evansville Courier, June 1 2000.
  • “Prostitution Sting Leads to 6 Arrests,” Evansville Courier, March 8 2002.
  • “Prostitution, Indecency Sweep Nets 7,” Evansville Courier, August 3 2002.
  • “Prostitution Sweep Continues,” Evansville Courier, August 4 2002.
  • “Prostitution Sting Targets Local ‘Johns’,” NBC/WFIE-TV 14, February 29 2004.
  • “Teacher Arrested in Prostitution Sting,” Evansville Courier & Press, July 2 2005.
  • “Five Arrested in Reverse Prostitution Sting,” NBC/WFIE-TV 14, August 25 2006.

Web-Based Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure, Cameras:

Sex Buyer Arrest:

Neighborhood Action with Letters:

Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

  • “Police Arrest Woman,” Evansville Courier, June 24 1991.
  • “Man Accused of Prostitution,” Evansville Courier, January 4 1992.
  • “Prostitution Charge Filed,” Evansville Courier, January 5 1992.
  • “Prostitution Charge Filed,” Evansville Courier, April 16 1993.
  • “Woman Accused of Running Prostitution Ring,” Evansville Courier, June 22 1993.
  • “Prostitution Arrest Made,” Evansville Courier, July 29 1994.
  • “Prostitution Charged,” Evansville Courier, October 18 1994.
  • “Police Arrest Alleged Pimp and Prostitute,” Evansville Courier, November 12 1994.
  • “Prostitution Alleged,” Evansville Courier, January 31 1995.
  • “Sex Arrest Made,” Evansville Courier, March 28 1995.
  • “Prostitution Raid Hits Lingerie Shop,” Evansville Courier, April 20 1995.
  • “Two Charged with Prostitution,” Evansville Courier, June 15 1995.
  • “Policeman Is Bitten,” Evansville Courier, August 1 1995.
  • “Woman Is Arrested,” Evansville Courier, September 10 1995.
  • “Prostitution Charged,” Evansville Courier, September 13 1995.
  • “Prostitution Case Filed,” Evansville Courier, March 19 1996.
  • “Prostitution Sting Nets Two Women,” Evansville Courier, February 22 1999.
  • “Police Officers Find Little Glamour on Prostitute Patrol,” Evansville Courier, May 20 1999.
  • “Six Arrested in Prostitution Case,” Evansville Courier, May 20 1999.
  • “Ladies of the Evening Give Officers Plenty to Talk About,” Evansville Courier, May 21 1999.
  • “For the Prostitute, There Is Very Little Dignity Left to Lose,” Evansville Courier, May 26 1999.
  • “Oldest Profession Goes Cyber?,” Evansville Courier, June 17 2000.
  • “Prostitution Sting Nets Five Arrests,” Evansville Courier, July 15 2000.
  • “Woman Jailed after Allegedly Exposing Self,” Evansville Courier, July 23 2000.
  • “Tri-State Briefs; Evansville; 3 Women Arrested in Prostitute Sting,” Evansville Courier, November 29 2001.
  • “Briefs; Evansville; Escort Charged with Prostitution,” Evansville Courier, February 15 2002.
  • “Three Arrested in Prostitution Sting Operation,” Evansville Courier, August 6 2002.
  • “Five Arrested on Prostitution Charges,” Evansville Courier, August 28 2002.
  • “Three Charged with Prostitution,” Evansville Courier, September 6 2002.
  • “Briefs; Evansville; City Woman Faces Prostitution Charges,” Evansville Courier & Press, October 21 2003.
  • “Briefs; Evansville; Woman Accused of Prostitution,” Evansville Courier & Press, July 21 2004.
  • “Briefs; Evansville; Woman Arrested on Prostitution Charges,” Evansville Courier & Press, September 27 2004.
  • “Escort Service Owners Arrested in Prostitution Investigation,” Evansville Courier & Press, January 20 2005.
  • “Two Charged with Prostitution,” Evansville Courier & Press, March 24 2005.
  • “Business Briefs; Evansville; Woman Accused of Prostitution,” Evansville Courier & Press, January 13 2007.
  • “Working Girls Wander to Another Tri-State Street,” NBC/WFIE-TV 14, May 17 2007.
  • “Spa Worker Faces Prostitution Charge,” Evansville Courier & Press, October 5 2007.
  • “Man Accused of Prostituting Wife,” Evansville Courier & Press, November 15 2007.
  • “Charges of Promoting Prostitution Dismissed against Ex-Club Manager,” Evansville Courier & Press, January 30 2008.
  • “Tri-State Prostitution Moves Online,” NBC/WFIE-TV 14, April 23 2009.
  • “Stepped-Up Prostitution Effort Nets Second Arrest,” Evansville Courier & Press, October 22 2009.
  • “Briefs; Evansville; Prostitution Charge Filed in Encounter,” Evansville Courier & Press, January 11 2010.
  • “EPD: Woman Propositions a Cop, Heads to Jail,” NBC/WFIE-TV 14, August 18 2011.
  • “Sex for Sale in the Tri-State,” NBC/WFIE-TV 14, February 20 2012.
  • (2015)
  • (2016)

Documented Violence Against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:

  • “Two Jailed in Slaying of Woman,” Evansville Courier, September 11 1998.
  • “Suspect in Prostitute’s Death May Claim Insanity Defense,” Evansville Courier, January 12 1999.
  • “21-Year-Old on Trial in Slaying of Woman,” Evansville Courier, February 23 1999.
  • “Slaying Suspect Says He Was Drunk, High,” Evansville Courier, February 24 1999.
  • “Lehman Convicted in Slaying,” Evansville Courier, February 25 1999.
  • “Lehman Gets 65-Year Prison Sentence for Killing Woman,” Evansville Courier, March 20 1999.
  • “Man Who Dumped Body Spared Prison,” Evansville Courier, March 16 2000.
  • “Ky. Man Faces Sexual Assault Charges,” Evansville Courier & Press, August 21 2008.
State Indiana
Type County
Population 179987
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