August 30, 2021 – Fond du Lac, WI – Members of the Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s Office recently worked in conjunction with the Wisconsin Department of Justice – Department of Criminal Investigations, Wisconsin Statewide Intelligence Center, Wisconsin State Patrol, Lake Winnebago Metropolitan Enforcement Group (MEG Unit), Fond du Lac Police Department, and ASTOP to conduct an Undercover Human Trafficking Operation in Fond du Lac. This undercover operation resulted in five arrests – two men from Fond du Lac, one from Oshkosh, one from Wautoma, and one from Berlin.
Multiple charges will be referred to the Fond du Lac County District Attorney’s Office, and detectives and agents are continuing their investigation. See the media release from DOJ below:
DOJ Human Trafficking Bureau Coordinates Multi-Agency Operation in Wisconsin
FOND DU LAC, Wis. – Attorney General Josh Kaul today announced arrests of five Wisconsin men for solicitation of prostitution following a coordinated undercover human trafficking operation conducted on the evening of Thursday, August 26, 2021 in Fond Du Lac. The Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI), the Wisconsin State Patrol, and the Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s Office coordinated on this operation targeting sex buyers.
“Our outstanding Human Trafficking Bureau works to combat human trafficking, including by investigating and arresting individuals who drive the demand for this outrageous criminal activity by soliciting commercial sex,” said Attorney General Kaul. “The Wisconsin Department of Justice is committed to fighting human sex trafficking and to providing support services to survivors.”
“Human trafficking harms vulnerable people. The Wisconsin State Patrol is committed to doing our part to stop it by looking for signs on the highways every day,” said State Patrol Superintendent Anthony Burrell. “We know traffickers are traveling throughout Wisconsin and our partnership with DOJ is essential to combat this growing crime.”
“Some believe sex trafficking is a ‘victimless crime,’ but the reality of this heinous crime is quite the opposite,” said Fond Du Lac County Sheriff Ryan Waldschmidt. “We know that most victims of sex trafficking are forced to participate by others through violence, intimidation, and coercion, and are repeatedly exploited over and over again.
Unfortunately, Fond du Lac is not immune to the trade and sale of human beings for sex, but working together with other local and state agency partners, we continue to detect and hold accountable those who perpetuate this crime, and rescue victims trapped in this trade.”
As in any criminal proceeding, the individuals arrested are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
If you or someone you know needs immediate help, call 911. The National Human Trafficking Hotline also assists victims and accepts tips 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at 1-888-373-7888. For help finding a local service provider, reach out to the DOJ Office of Crime Victim Services or visit the service directories on DOJ’s human trafficking website at www.BeFreeWisconsin.com.
Human Trafficking Resources:
Call the National Human Trafficking Hotline for help or to report a tip 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-373-7888, or text 233733.
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children CyberTip Reporting
For more information about human trafficking, including how to identify signs of human trafficking, victim services, statutes, and industry specific materials, visit www.BeFreeWisconsin.com.
Visit the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families’ “WI, We Need to Talk” website for https://dcf.wisconsin.gov/wisconsintalks