“We’re coming for you:” 25 arrested in DOJ stings related to sex trafficking

SHEBOYGAN — Twenty-five people were arrested in July and August in stings related to sex trafficking, Attorney General Brad Schimel announced Thursday, September 14th.

The arrests were made as the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) Human Trafficking Bureau agents teamed up with local and federal law enforcement.

“The only reason human trafficking exists is because there is a demand for buying sex. Those creating the demand – the johns who buy victims and the pimps who are exploiting them – are not safe to exploit and coerce people in our state,” said Attorney General Schimel in a news release. “When I was sworn in as attorney general, I put johns on notice. We are coming for you, and for some – we already got you. DOJ’s Human Trafficking Bureau’s arrests this summer will not be the last.”

According to the news release, in operations focused in northern and eastern Wisconsin, DCI agents arrested 25 individuals in operations that targeted those seeking children for sexual purposes and “johns”, individuals who were soliciting prostitutes. Some of those arrested were knowingly seeking 14- and 15-year old children for sexual purposes.

Those arrested were charged with:

  • Soliciting a prostitute
  • Pandering
  • Soliciting a child for prostitution
  • Attempted second degree sexual assault of a child
  • Child enticement
  • Using a computer to facilitate a child sex crime
  • Exposing a child to harmful material
  • Exposing a child to harmful narrations

DCI agents also helped the Brown County Sheriff’s Office in the agency’s own anti-human trafficking efforts in July, when the agency arrested 35 individuals during a four-day johns suppression operation in late July.

These operations were part of the National Johns Suppression Initiative, a coordinated operation across 17 states and that included 37 law enforcement agencies. The Cook County Sheriff’s Office reports that nationwide, at least 1,020 sex buyers were arrested, 15 individuals face trafficking-related charges, and 81 individuals were recovered and offered services. 

The following agencies aided in the success of these operations in Wisconsin:

  • Cottage Grove Police Department
  • Dane County Sheriff’s Office
  • Door County District Attorney
  • Door County Sheriff’s Office
  • Eagle River Police Department
  • Juneau County Sheriff’s Office
  • Kohler Police Department
  • Madison Police Department
  • Marshfield Police Department
  • McFarland Police Department
  • Monona Police Department
  • Rock County District Attorney
  • Sheboygan County District Attorney
  • Sheboygan County Sheriff’s Office
  • Sheboygan Police Department
  • Sheboygan Falls Police Department
  • Sturgeon Bay Police Department
  • U.S. Marshals
  • Vilas County Sheriff’s Office
  • Wisconsin State Patrol