warren sting operation

Warren Police Commissioner Bill Dwyer addresses reporters. (Photo: Jon Hewett/WWJ)

35 People Arrested In Human Trafficking Sting At Warren Hotels

May 17, 2019 - 12:43 pm

WARREN (WWJ) - Dozens of people have been arrested in a massive human trafficking crackdown involving hotels and motels in Warren. 

A total of 35 people, all adults, were taken into custody during a task force-led prostitution sting police are calling “Operation Crusade," police say. 

The arrests were made at seven establishments over the past three nights, according to Warren Police Commissioner Bill Dwyer. Undercover male officers made several arrests on the first two nights for prostitution. Then, Thursday night, female police officers working as decoys led to multiple solicitation arrests. 

Police said 30 felony charges and 45 misdemeanor prostitution and drug-related charges have been issued against 17 female and 18 male suspects. 

In addition, Commissioner Dwyer said police found two people determined to be sex trafficking victims, who will not be charged. 

Many of these cases involve sexual services offered online, Dwyer said, adding that the people behind it are often found to be preying on and luring victims into these roles, in many cases getting them addicted to drugs.

Calling human trafficking a nationwide epidemic,  Dwyer told WWJ's Jon Hewett and other reporters this is just phase one of a multi-phase effort by the Warren Police Department's Special Investigations Division to crackdown on sex-for-pay crimes.

"What we're also trying to do is also educate the public that we have victims out there that are forced into prostitution, and that's why human trafficking is a priority to law enforcement today, which it should have been decades ago," Dwyer said.

"So the message is twofold. One: We're looking for victims, we want to help the victims out. And number two: We're sending the notice out, as far as the city of Warren, that in Warren if you're going to be a John or if you're going to be a prostitute or a pimp, we're gonna arrest you with the initiatives we have going."

Warren Mayor Jim Fouts said he has heard from several residents who are concerned about shady happenings at hotels in the city.

"I've had people call me up and say 'Mayor Fouts, I've had some friends coming in from out of town. We're having a birthday party, we're celebrating New Year's Eve,' what have you, and they went to a certain hotel and they noticed prostitution or some things of that nature," Fouts said. "I don't want that to happen in our city; or, of course, any city." 

Fouts believes this work by Warren police is a step in the right direction. 

"The most important thing to me is I want people to feel safe when they move to Warren," the mayor said. "But I also want them to feel safe not just in the neighborhoods, but also in the many hotels we have." 

Authorities did not identify specific hotels and motels by name.

"We've really made the rounds as far as establishing a good relationship with the hotels and motels and kind of put them on notice that, you know, that we're not gonna tolerate them allowing it to happen in their hotel, motel," Dwyer added. "And they've been, quite frankly, very, very cooperative."

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