MENOMINEE COUNTY — On August 22, Seven men were arrested during a joint operation in Northern Menominee County aimed at reducing the demand for sex trafficking. Law enforcement agencies initiated the operation by placing online advertisements on websites used for prostitution.
During the investigation, thirty-two individuals responded to the website advertisements. Seven men followed through and met with an undercover detective, who posed as a prostitute, to pay for services. All seven men were subsequently arrested for Prostitution/Engaging in Services and Using Computers-Internet to Commit Crime and lodged at the Menominee County Jail.
The names of the men are being withheld pending their arraignment.
The main purpose of the operation was to reduce the demand for sex trafficking and to identify possible victims by gathering intelligence from those responding to the online advertisements. The men responding to online advertisements have no way of knowing if they are paying for sex from a victim of human trafficking, an alleged willing participant, or an undercover detective. Either way, those responding to advertisements are creating the demand that fuels sex trafficking.
The operation was a collaborative effort between the Upper Peninsula Substance Enforcement Team, the Bureau of Indian Affairs – Division of Drug Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, Hannahville Tribal Police Department, Michigan State Police Homeland Security Team, and the Michigan State Police Computer Crimes Unit.