Warren, 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

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.

Key Partners

  • Warren Police Department
  • Mahoning Valley Human Trafficking Task Force
  • Ohio’s Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation

Key Sources

Street-Level and Web-Based Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

State Ohio
Type City
Population 39020
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