35 men arrested in sex-buying sting

Law enforcement agencies in Brown County speak at a news conference Aug. 10, 2017, regarding the arrests of 35 men in a human trafficking case. (WLUK/Gabrielle Mays)

BROWN COUNTY, Wis. (WLUK) -- Thirty-five men were arrested throughout Brown County during a national sex trafficking operation.

Authorities throughout Brown County, including Green Bay, De Pere and Ashwaubenon, arrested the men over a four-day period, July 17-20.

The National Johns Suppression Initiative happened June 28 through July 31, involving 37 law enforcement agencies across 17 states.

On Thursday, the Brown County Sheriff's Office gave more information about the sex buyers arrested during the sting.

Middle-aged, college-educated white men are the average sex buyers in Brown County, according to the sheriff's office.

"However, we do see the gamut of everything. We saw a 20-year-old that was about to get married and then we saw a 64-year-old -- I believe he was 64, 65 -- never been married," said Sgt. Matt Wilson.

Wilson, who's on the human trafficking task force with the sheriff's office, released only a few details on the overall operation.

"We were actively out there investigating on the internet as well as other places to get sex buyers to contact us," he said.

When it comes to catching the sex buyers, officials say the internet is the most common place to find them.

"About 99.9 percent of the stuff that we do is on the internet. Whether it be Backpage, Craigslist, escort internet websties that we use, that's pretty much where I do most of my work," Wilson said.

He adds, sex trafficking has been an ongoing problem in the county.

"We knew it was here, it was just a matter of how much and I think people are surprised at the volume that's here in Green Bay," Wilson said. "We believe if we take the sex buyers away then we won't have the demand as much for the trafficking victims to be in the area or to be in it all together."

And, for anyone interested in paying for sex in Brown County, the sheriff's office has a warning.

"Buyers beware because you might be dealing with a law enforcement officer who's looking to arrest you," said Chief Deputy Todd Delain with the Brown County Sheriff's Office.

Of the 35 men arrested, court records show, so far, at least two of those men have been formally charged with crimes.

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