HUDSON — The Wisconsin Department of Justice announced Friday that five people have been arrested and two victims were recovered in a sex trafficking sting in St. Croix County.
Attorney General Brad Schimel said Friday in Hudson the five arrested were involved in operations that targeted those seeking children for sexual purposes and so-called “johns” who wanted to pay for sex. Schimel says some of the individuals arrested were knowingly seeking 14- and 15-year-old children for sex.
Those arrested are facing possible charges of attempted second-degree sexual assault of a child, requesting a nude image from a child, using a computer to facilitate a child sex crime, child enticement and soliciting a prostitute.
“The only reason human trafficking exists is because there is a demand for buying sex. Those creating the demand — the johns who buy victims, and the traffickers who are exploiting them — are not safe to exploit and coerce people in our state because law enforcement and human services are better prepared than ever to take on this insidious crime,” Schimel said in a news release. “When I was sworn in as attorney general, I put johns on notice. We are coming for you, and for some — we already got you. These arrests will not be the last.”
Local organizations assisting in the operation include Hudson, New Richmond and River Falls police, the St. Croix County sheriff’s and district attorney’s offices, and Turningpoint for Victims of Domestic and Sexual Violence.
“It’s imperative that we continue to make child sex crimes and human trafficking one of the main priorities in our region,” St. Croix County Sheriff Scott Knudson said in the release. “We will continue our work on these cases to ensure that the most vulnerable in our communities are assisted, and the offenders are arrested.”
Since Schimel established the Human Trafficking Bureau within DOJ’s Division of Criminal Investigation in September, the agency has conducted 23 child and adult sex trafficking investigations, arrested six johns and 15 child and adult sex traffickers, and recovered 20 adult and four child sex trafficking victims, according to the release.