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Warren is a city in northeast Ohio and is the county seat of Trumbull County. The city has approximately 39,000 residents. Sex trafficking and prostitution have been identified as substantial problems in the city. Over the course of 2011 and 2012, after complaints about prostitution occurring at massage parlors, Ohio’s Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation conducted a yearlong undercover investigation. The main goal of the operation was to continue the nuisance abatement action against the businesses that had their licenses revoked or suspended by Warren’s Health Department for hosting illegal commercial sex. However, the case also included subpoenas served to and arrests of men who frequented massage parlors operating as brothels. The men’s names were publicly released as part of the criminal justice system process.
In November 2017, ten men were charged after agents with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, Warren Police Department, and other agencies posed as prostituted persons on social media, talked with potential sex buyers, and invited them to a Warren motel. There was a large number of responses from men who arranged meetings for sex and were immediately taken into custody when they arrived at the motel. All were booked into the Trumbull County jail and released. The identities of the men arrested were publicly released.
On April 18, 2018, six men allegedly seeking sex (as well as two pimps) were arrested in a reverse sting conducted by the Warren Police Department, agents with the Mahoning Valley Human Trafficking Task Force, and other agencies. The web-based sting involved individuals seeking to buy sex through use of an ad posted on a social media website. Investigators participated in text conversations, some of which were sexually explicit in asking for sex from the agent. Men in those conversations were directed to meet at a prearranged location in the city, where they were arrested, interviewed, taken to the Trumbull County jail, and charged with soliciting prostitution and possessing criminal tools (the cellphones used to make the phone calls or texts).
In August 2018, the Warren City Street Crimes Unit conducted an undercover sting targeting sex buyers and arrested three men who tried to make a deal with a prostituted woman who turned out to be an undercover officer working a sting on city streets. Two of the men asked the officer for oral sex in exchange for $5 and $10 respectively. The other man asked the undercover officer to watch him masturbate in exchange for $20.
- Warren Police Department
- Mahoning Valley Human Trafficking Task Force
- Ohio’s Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation
Street-Level and Web-Based Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:
- “3 Men Arrested in Prostitution Sting”, Youngstown Vindicator, April 6 2010.
- “Three Arrested in Warren Prostitution Sting”, NBC/WFMJ-TV 21, April 10 2010.
- “Prostitution Sting in Warren Leads to Charges against 4”, Youngstown Vindicator, July 20 2010.
- https://www.cleveland19.com/story/36966186/prostitution-sting-leads-to-10-arrests-in-warren-attorney-general-says-more-busts-coming (2017)
- “Eight of 10 “johns’ charged in prostitution sting appear for hearing,” Vindy.com, January 11, 2018.
- http://www.vindy.com/news/apr/20/-men-charged-in-warren-sex-sting (2018)
- http://www.wfmj.com/story/warren-police-arrest-eight-men-in-prostitution-investigation (2018)
- https://www.facebook.com/AshlandCountyPictures/posts/eight-arrested-in-undercover-operation-aimed-at-reducing-demand-for-sex-traffick (2018)
- http://www.tribtoday.com/news/local-news/8-charged-in-undercover-sex-sting (2018)
- http://www.wfmj.com/story/men-from-warren-salem-nabbed-in-prostitution-sting (2018)
- https://www.vindy.com/news/local-news/dont-buy-sex-in-ohio-sting-nets-8-men-in-valley (2020)
- https://www.wkbn.com/news/local-news/8-arrested-in-trumbull-county-human-trafficking-sting (2020)
Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:
- “Newton Falls Man Accused of Compelling a Minor into Prostitution”, NBC/WFMJ-T 21, May 16 2014.
- “Newton Falls Man Faces Sex Charges”, Youngstown Vindicator, May 16 2014.
- “Man Charged with Pimping Out Teen”, CBS/WKBN-TV 27, July 29 2014.
- “Man Accused in Child Sex Case Changes Plea”, ABC/WYTV-TV 33, October 2 2014.
- https://www.wfmj.com/story/warren-newton-falls-suspects-arrested-in-human-trafficking-crackdown (2021)
Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “Massage Parlors Thrive in Blue-Collar Warren; Businesses Concern City Leaders”, Cleveland Plain Dealer, December 27 2000.
- “Warren Police Investigator City’s 10 Massage Parlors”, Youngstown Vindicator, April 10 2011.
- “Undercover Cops in Warren Arrest 5 Prostitutes”, NBC/WFMJ-TV 21, August 26 2011.
- “Massage Parlors’ Warren Lawyer Cites Case”, Youngstown Vindicator, February 15 2012.
- “AG Investigation Turned Up Prostitution at Warren Massage Parlors”, Youngstown Vindicator, May 30 2012.
- “Cops Raid 8 Massage Parlors in Warren”, Youngstown Vindicator, May 31 2012.
- “WARREN: Licenses of Eight Massage Parlors Revoked”, Youngstown Vindicator, June 4 2012.
- “Ohio AG Serves Warrant at 8 Warren Spas”, NBC/WFMJ-TV 21, June 9 2012.
- “15 Customers of Warren Massage Parlors Ordered to Testify in Prostitution Probe”, Youngstown Vindicator, June 14 2012.
- “Warren’s War on Prostitution Emerges as Model for Ohio, US”, Youngstown Vindicator, June 18 2012.
- “Warren Wages War on City’s Massage Parlors”, Cleveland Plain Dealer, June 24 2012.
- “Hearing to Keep Warren Massage Parlors Closed Is Delayed”, NBC/WFMJ-TV 21, June 25 2012.
- “In Warren, 8 Spas Agree to Shut Down for One Year; Deal Follows Raids, Prostitution Probe”, Cleveland Plain Dealer, June 28 2012.
- “City of Warren Reacts to Massage Parlor Shut Down”, NBC/WFMJ-TV 21, July 8 2012.
- “Warren Spas Involved in Raid Agree to Close”, NBC/WFMJ-TV 21, July 8 2012.
- “Massage Parlors Dismiss Lawsuit”, Youngstown Vindicator, August 31 2012.
- “Woman Charged with Prostitution Faces Lesser Charge”, NBC/WFMJ-TV 21, April 29 2013.
- “A Year Later, Warren Massage Parlor Investigation Yields No Charges”, Cleveland Plain Dealer, August 3 2013.
- “2012 Raids Closed Massage Parlors in Warren But Have Yet to Bring Charges; Prostitution Probe Ongoing, Dewine Says”, Cleveland Plain Dealer, August 4 2013.
- https://www.wfmj.com/story/warren-police-crack-down-on-prostitution-in-high-crime-area (2017)
- https://www.tribtoday.com/news/latest-news/four-arrested-in-prostitution-sting (2017)