Wood County is a county of approximately 125,000 residents, located south of Toledo in northwest Ohio. It contains the cities of Perrysburg and Bowling Green. Situated along Interstate 75, the county has struggled with problems associated with prostitution activity in and around local truck stops for decades. To address the issue, the Wood County Sheriff’s Office has conducted street-level reverse stings to identify and apprehend sex buyers. Operations typically use one or more undercover female officers, who pose as decoys. As johns attempt to solicit sex from the women, they are quickly arrested.
In July 2011, sheriff’s deputies furthered their efforts by conducting a web sting. Officers placed a decoy advertisement and phone number to an internet site known to advertise commercial sex; a female officer then arranged meetings with the men who replied. As a warning to other would-be sex buyers, the WCSO released the johns’ names and other identifying information to the local media.
In the first half of 2013, the Wood County Sheriff’s Office arrested nine men in two prostitution sting operations. The June reverse sting operation took place at a motel in northern Wood County, and all five men were supposed to appear in Perrysburg Municipal Court. The May operation took place at Wood County area truck stops. Both operations were completed with assistance from the Lake Township Police Department and the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office. In April 2014, a street-level reverse sting occurred at truck stops along I-75 at SR 18 and SR 613, resulting in the arrest of five sex buyers. In June 2014, another sting resulted in the arrest of nine sex buyers.
- Wood County Sheriff’s Office
- Lake Township Police Department
- Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office
- Reverse Stings:
- “Prostitution Sting Shows Human Trafficking Issue”, WTOL/KLTV 7, January 31 2012.
- “Prostitutes in Perrysburg”, NorthwestOhio.com, April 20 2012.
- “Local Men and Women Arrested in Solicitation Bust at Perrysburg Hotel”, NorthwestOhio.com, May 24 2012.
- “Perrysburg Prostitution Sting Nets 9 Offenders”, NBC/WNWO-TV 49, June 27 2012.
- “9 Men Arrested in Prostitution Sting in Wood County”, NBC/WNWO-TV 49, June 14 2013.
- “3 Prostitution Stings in Wood County Net 21 Suspects”, Toledo Blade, August 21 2013.
- Wood County Prostitution Sting Cracks Down on Trafficking,” 19 Action News, August 18, 2014.
- Web Stings:
- Background on Prostitution in the Area: