Winnebago County, Wisconsin has a population of about 283,000. The county seat is Oshkosh, which has roughly 67,000 residents. Prostitution and sex trafficking activity have been reported in the county since at least the 1970s, if not earlier. Among their efforts to reduce commercial sex and trafficking have been the use of tactics addressing demand. The Oshkosh Police Department has conducted reverse stings since the 1980s. In 1989 and 1992, OPD female undercover officers posed as decoys in and around an Oshkosh hotel. In both instances, several sex buyers were arrested after offering a decoy money in exchange for sex acts. The Wisconsin State Journal reported that the vehicles of the men arrested had also been seized following both stings. It is unclear if the offenders’ identities were publicized in press at the time of their arrests.
In 2013 a reverse sting operation that targeted internet child sex predators led to the arrests of 16 men in six Wisconsin counties: Eight were arrested in Brown County, four in Marathon County, and an undisclosed number of others in Winnebago, Shawano, Outagamie and Door counties. Police had between 1,200 and 1,500 chats with possible suspects during the investigation that ran four days. Officials targeted online ad services as well as social media and other Internet outlets. The arrested men had faced charges including use of a computer to facilitate a child sex crime to child enticement, prostitution, and possession of a controlled substance.
More recent operations include a reverse sting in December of 2017, yielding the arrest of three men from Winneconne, Kaukauna and Appleton Wisconsin. Charges were referred to the Winnebago County District Attorney’s Office, and one of the men was also charged with drug possession. The Oshkosh Police Department said that they actively investigate crimes related to prostitution, and the tactics they employ include “measures to reduce the demand.”
In 2018, eight men were arrested during a reverse sting in Oshkosh. The suspects arrested were from Neenah, Fond du Lac, Appleton, Sheboygan, Eldorado, Omro and Oshkosh. Six men were referred to the Winnebago County District Attorney’s Office for the charge of Prostitution, and one was transported to the Winnebago County jail on prostitution and drug charges.
- Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office
- Oshkosh Police Department
- U.S. Marshals
- Wisconsin State Patrol
Reverse Stings, Shaming, Auto Seizure:
- “Prostitution Charges,” Wisconsin State Journal, January 1 1989.
- “Prostitution Charges,” Wisconsin State Journal, July 25 1992.
- https://www.twincities.com/2013/09/24/16-men-from-6-wisconsin-counties-arrested-in-sex-sting/ (2013)
- “Eight arrested in prostitution case,” We Are Green Bay, January 11, 2018.
- http://www.wearegreenbay.com/news/local-news/eight-arrested-in-prostitution-case/910818140 (2018)
- http://fox11online.com/news/local/fox-cities/20-arrested-in-oshkosh-undercover-prostitution-investigation (2018)
Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:
- “Girl Tells Story of Prostitution,” Milwaukee Sentinel, July 21 1977.
- “Warrant Issued for Man, Charged with Child Prostitution,” Oshkosh Northwestern, April 23 2005.
- “Oshkosh Man Sentenced for Online Soliciting of Young Girls for Sex,” Oshkosh Northwestern, December 10 2009.
- “3 Charged with Prostitution, Trafficking Teen,” Oshkosh Northwestern, September 24 2015.
- “Oshkosh Sex Trafficking Case to Continue,” Oshkosh Northwestern, October 5 2015.
- “Woman Enters Plea in Oshkosh Prostitution Case,” Oshkosh Northwestern, November 2 2015.
- “Oshkosh Prostitution Ring Suspect Enters Plea,” Oshkosh Northwestern, November 9 2015.
- “Woman Convicted in Oshkosh Prostitution Case,” Oshkosh Northwestern, January 20 2016.
- “Oshkosh Man Sentenced in Prostitution Case,” Oshkosh Northwestern, February 4 2016.
Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “Probe Nets 2 Prostitution Warrants,” Milwaukee Sentinel, June 19 1973.
- “Prostitution Charges Filed after Raids,” Milwaukee Journal, June 1 1987.
- “Evers Convicted on 24 Counts in Fox Valley Prostitution,” Milwaukee Sentinel, July 26 1988.
- “Hearing Investigating Prostitution at Oshkosh Tavern,” Milwaukee Journal, August 16 1988.
- “Massage Parlor Allegedly Sold Sex; Business May Yield List of Upper-Class Fox Valley Clientele,” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, October 28 1995.
- “Prostitution Case Reviewed,” Oshkosh Northwestern, May 4 2004.
- “Charges Dismissed against Two in Massage Parlor Sting,” Oshkosh Northwestern, August 26 2008.
- “Oshkosh Prostitution Sting Nets Two Women,” Oshkosh Northwestern, January 9 2009.
- “Oshkosh Mother, 33, Accused of Prostitution,” Oshkosh Northwestern, April 10 2009.
- “Prostitution Charges Issued in Massage Parlor Sting,” Oshkosh Northwestern, July 30 2009.
- “Prostitution Ring Had Roots in Oshkosh,” Oshkosh Northwestern, December 18 2009.
- “Two Women Arrested for Prostitution at Oshkosh Strip Club,” Oshkosh Northwestern, August 8 2013.
- “DA Won’t File Charges in Oshkosh Prostitution Case,” Oshkosh Northwestern, May 20 2015.
Documented Violence against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:
- “Man Charged with Assault Accuses Victim of Prostitution,” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, May 21 1997.