|IT Based Tactics
Wexford County is a county of approximately 34,000 residents, located in northern Michigan. Cadillac is the county seat and largest city. Prostitution and sex trafficking have been documented within the county, and in responses, law enforcement has taken proactive steps to reduce demand for commercial sex locally. For example, in early March 2016, media outlets reported the completion of a web-based reverse sting in Wexford County. Officers with the Traverse Narcotics Team led the investigation, which saw law enforcement place an advertisement to a “well-known escort website” and intercept individuals who responded to the listing. Six men were reportedly arrested after they contacted undercover law enforcement officers through the website, and arranged to meet him/her for commercial sex acts at undisclosed location within the county. Following the sting, a representative with the Wexford County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office reported that as many as 70 individuals responded to the decoy listing, though only six ultimately followed through and agreed to meet the decoy and pay him/her for prostitution. Each of the arrestees was charged with misdemeanor “solicitation of prostitution and using a computer to commit a crime”; their identities were not publicized. Although not formally involved in the investigation, a representative from the advocacy organization Citizens Against Sex Trafficking TC was contacted for comment about the sting by NBC/WPBN-TV, and noted the importance of targeting demand to reduce prostitution and sex trafficking. She stated:
“I think there are a lot people, legislators, policy makers that are realizing that this is the problem and if they have stricter laws and stricter punishment the demand is going to go down.”
- Traverse Narcotics Team
- Wexford County Prosecuting Attorney
- Citizens Against Sex Trafficking TC
Web-Based Reverse Stings:
- “Six Arrested in Wexford County during Undercover Prostitution Sting,” NBC/WPBN-TV 7, March 1 2016.
- “Six Wexford County Men Arrested, Accused of Trying to Hire Prostitutes,” CBS/WWTV-TV 9, March 2 2016.
Background on Prostitution, Sex Trafficking in the Area: