Winona County is a county of just over 50,000 residents, located in southeastern Minnesota. Prostitution and sex trafficking are well-documented problems in the community, and have generated complaints to law enforcement.
In addition to overseeing or assisting with city-level anti-prostitution efforts in Winona, local law enforcement have conducted at least two reverse stings. In May 2015, officers with the Winona County Sheriff’s Department and Southeast Minnesota Narcotics and Drug Task Force placed decoy advertisements suggesting prostitution to a website known for commercial sex activity, and arranged to meet the men who responded to the listing at an unnamed Winona County motel. Four johns were arrested as a result; each was charged with “a single gross misdemeanor count of patronizing prostitution,” and had a bond set of $6,000. All of the men’s names were publicized in press. In January 2018, charges of solicitation of prostitution were referred against a man after he answered an online ad for prostitution set up by law enforcement and arrived at a Winona area hotel where deputies arrested him following his confirmation of his intent.
- Web-Based Reverse Stings with Shaming:
- “Winona County Busts 3 for Seeking Prostitution,” Winona Daily News, May 27 2015.
- “Sham Hooker Hooks Another in Winona County,” Winona Daily News, May 28 2015.
- “La Crescent Man Hooked by Sham Hooker,” La Crosse Tribune, June 3 2015.
- “Man arrested for solicitation of prostitution.” Winona Daily News, January 2, 2018.