Wickliffe, 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

Wickliffe is a city of about 13,000 residents in Lake County, Ohio. Located in northeast Ohio, it is a suburb of Cleveland. Prostitution and related drug use have been documented in the city and surrounding areas. To address these problems, at least one web-based reverse sting has been conducted in they city.

In February 2023, the Eastlake City Council President was one of six men charged with soliciting for sex following a human trafficking sting in Northeast Ohio. The operation was coordinated by the Ohio Attorney General’s Northeast Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force, Wickliffe Police, and Lake County Sheriff’s deputies. Law enforcement agents posed as prostituted persons advertising on websites and sharing their location, leading to eventual arrests at a hotel in Wickliffe. Under Ohio Revised Code, the charge of solicitation ranges from a first-degree misdemeanor to a fourth-degree felony if the person solicited is younger than 16. A statement released from Attorney General Dave Yost explained, “The point of our task forces is to send a message to those who buy and sell human beings: We’re coming for you, we’re going to bust you and make sure everybody knows what you did. Don’t buy sex in Ohio!” The statement also gave special thanks to the Lake County Sheriff, “whose office recently joined this task force and has hit the ground running.” The arrested sex buyers had their photos and identities released to the press. The task force also identified four potential victims of sex trafficking, who were offered social services. In a statement, a Detective Lieutenant of the Wickliffe Police Department said:

“The Wickliffe Police Department recognizes the inherent danger associated with prostitution and the possibility that those involved could be victims of human trafficking. We were happy to help the Lake County Sheriff’s Office and the Northeast Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force with this operation and look forward to maintaining a partnership with both in the future.”

The task force is led by the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department and includes the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations, Cleveland Police Department, MetroHealth Police Department, East Cleveland Police Department, Ohio Investigative Unit, Ashtabula County Sheriff’s Office, and the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.

Key Partners

  • Lake County Sheriff’s Office
  • Wickliffe Police Department
  • Ohio Attorney General’s Northeast Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force
    • Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department
    • Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office
    • U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations
    • Cleveland Police Department
    • MetroHealth Police Department
    • East Cleveland Police Department
    • Ohio Investigative Unit
    • Ashtabula County Sheriff’s Office
    • Lake County Sheriff’s Office
State Ohio
Type City
Population 12646
Comments are closed.