The Brown County Sheriffs Office, along with the Green Bay Police Department, De Pere Police Department, and Ashwaubenon Public Safety took part in the 16th Johns Suppression Initiative, leading to the arrest of more than 20 people in Brown County.
The arrests were announced in a press conference Friday morning.
19 would-be Johns were arrested on misdemeanor Prostitution charges.
Sergeant Matt Wilson of the Brown County Sheriff’s Office explained that undercover investigators found the Johns by logging on to websites and apps commonly used to solicit prostitution.
“Essentially, once you log on, you can see who’s around you within a couple of miles and what they post,” he said. “Then you’re able to have a private chat with them on the side.”
He explained that most of these websites are based outside of the country, so they do not have to follow United States laws.
Targeting Johns is a strategic move to help discourage prostitution.
“How long have we been citing and arresting the survivors in this,” Sgt. Wilson explained, “just for them to go out and work again to pay for the ticket, where now we’re switching to the demand side.”
Also arrested was a Michigan man, who traveled to Brown County to “pimp out” a Michigan woman.
He now faces Human Trafficking charges, and she has been rescued and is being offered resources to help escape her current situation.
Two more men were arrested for attempting to meet a 15-year-old girl for sex, and now face Child Sex Crime charges.
There are also 409 people who police made contact with online, but did not incriminate themselves enough to warrant charges.
Those people have been sent written warnings by police.