Wauwatosa, WI

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

Wauwatosa is a suburban city abutting Milwaukee, Wisconsin, of roughly 48,000 residents, located in Milwaukee County, WI. Prostitution and sex trafficking have been identified as problems in the city, and the city has passed local ordinances to attempt to supplement state laws and provide local civil remedies.  The first known local prostitution arrests in the city were made in 1974. In one trafficking case, a sex trafficker/pimp was arrested yesterday for soliciting women to “work as prostitutes,” coaching them on “getting sex buyers drunk”, avoiding police, and stealing sex buyers’ credit cards. He then took her to clubs around Milwaukee and Chicago to “practice.” The man became angry because she was not producing enough money, and the woman’s sister called police to report the woman was being held against her will. The sex trafficker/pimp has also found a girl at a shelter and brought her back to the hotel for commercial sexual exploitation. When officers arrested the sex trafficker/pimp, he had nearly $2,000 in his pockets, five cell phones, and a laptop computer with information on how to operate a prostitution ring. A background check showed he had a history of prostitution and drug trafficking. The 20-year-old Milwaukee woman who had been trafficked was found to have several aliases, and had been arrested for prostitution in Illinois, Nevada, Washington D.C. and Hawaii. In another case, a man investigated for serial rape was arrested for “soliciting a prostitute.”

To address both prostitution and sex trafficking police have conducted operations meant to target demand for commercial sex. Police have conducted web-based reverse stings and released the identities of the men arrested. For example, in 2010, four men were arrested after unknowingly making arrangements to meet a Wauwatosa police officer for commercial sex at a local hotel. The department’s Special Operations Group determined that their efforts prove more successful if target male sex buyers, prostituted persons, and sex traffickers/pimps. In most cases people arrested for soliciting prostitution end up in the local municipal court and, if found guilty, pay a fine, but lack of cooperation, a prior arrest record or involvement in other crimes could bring more substantial penalties. During a reverse sting in July 2010, officers placed online ads for commercial sex, and in a short time, they were fielding calls and setting up morning and lunch-hour appointments at local hotels.

Sex buyers have also been arrested locally as the result of offenses against victim-survivors, rather than during proactive stings involving police decoys. For example, in April 2011, a 63-year-old man at a local hotel before moving out of state caused hotel management to suspect commercial sex was occurring. Police were called to a hotel on Innovation Drive, after an argument broke out in a guest room at 5 a.m. The man had rented a room and invited a woman he had met via a telephone personals service to visit him. The meeting led to a conflict about money and sex. Hotel management again called police about 8 p.m. when the man escorted his third or fourth female “companion” into the hotel within a 20-hour period. They wanted him removed from the property because the business didn’t condone such behavior. His companion was a 19-year-old woman from Zion, Ill. They had allegedly met via the telephone party line. He said he had driven over the border and picked her up for a “date,” and he would be taking her home soon. A search of the woman’s purse turned up marijuana, so she was arrested for drug possession.

Key Partners

  • Wauwatosa Police Department
State Wisconsin
Type City
Population 48143
Comments are closed.