Wayne 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

Wayne County is located in east-central Indiana, on the border with Ohio, and its population is approximately 66,000. The county seat is the cit of Richmond. Wayne County comprises the Richmond, IN Micropolitan Statistical Area, and is located roughly equidistant between Indianapolis, IN and Dayton, OH. Prostitution activity has been well-documented within the county, and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates results in complaints to law enforcement agencies from residents and businesses. Among the more serious crimes associated with the local commercial sex market is sex trafficking.

Consumer level demand provides the revenue stream for all prostitution and sex trafficking, and has therefore been targeted by local law enforcement agencies as a strategy for prevention and response. Demand reduction tactics used within the county include reverse stings and the disclosure of sex buyer identities. In an effort to reduce prostitution in the city, the Richmond Police Department has conducted at least two street-level reverse stings, and the cases were prosecuted by the county DA’s office. The two operations were conducted in September 2013, roughly one week apart (on September 7th-8th, and on September 13th). According to the RPD, the investigations were spurred by “at least 10 complaints of prostitution” from local residents and businesses. Both stings employed undercover female officers, who posed as prostituted women working along North and South A Streets and between 10th and 15th Streets. Thirteen male sex buyers were arrested as a result. During the latter investigation, one sex buyer allegedly “led police on a [90 mph] high-speed chase when police attempted to arrest him,” and the arrest was made when the suspect crashed the vehicle. In the first of the two reversals, which led to five arrests, officers were on the special detail for about four hours.  The undercover decoy worked under the observation of officers stationed on foot and in vehicles in the area. On each occasion after hitting the streets, the decoy was approached within 8 to 10 minutes by men in vehicles wanting to buy sex.  Many reportedly drove around several times before stopping,   Some offered to pay as little as $10 in exchange for sexual activity, and the typical range was $20-$40 for services from oral sex to intercourse.   Some of the men, when told they were under arrest, tried to throw their cars in gear and flee, and were later charged with a felony for using a vehicle to resist arrest, in addition to the misdemeanor for patronizing a prostitute.

The demand-driven initiatives represent a shift in Richmond and Wayne County’s approach to curbing prostitution; when reports emerged of sex trafficking at two local massage parlors in 2008, law enforcement did not arrest “men who [had] paid [the allegedly trafficked] women to perform sex acts and to give them showers, a misdemeanor in Indiana.” According to media reports, the sex buyers were not charged in exchange for providing police with information about the illegal businesses. By contrast, when asked for comment about their fall 2013 operations, RPD detectives stated that “[prostitution] is a public safety disorder issue and a quality of life issue… we had three women come to us and complain that they had been approached by men seeking prostitutes.”

In September, 2018, eleven individuals where arrested and charged resulting from a prostitution sting in Wayne County. The Wayne County District Attorney’s Office announced that six males accused of “patronizing prostitutes,” four females allegedly trading sex for money, and another male who allegedly arranged the transactions, were taken into custody.  The full-day sting led to additional arrests of men and women involved, according to authorities. The identities of the arrested sex buyers were included in news releases.

Key Partners

  • Wayne County Sheriff’s Office
  • Wayne County District Attorney’s Office
  • Richmond Police Department

Key Sources

Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

Sex Trafficking in the Area:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

State Indiana
Type County
Population 66176
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