ASHWAUBENON, WI (WTAQ) - Ashwaubenon Public Safety is warning people about a rash of criminal activity in the village.
"Recently, we've seen an uptick in sex trafficking issues within the village and we're determined to keep these issues addressed," said Public Safety Lt. Jody Crocker. "This is a problem here, and this warning is an education to those who think that it's okay to solicit prostitution, that it's a felony and you will be prosecuted."
Crocker detailed three recent incidents which highlight this growing problem.
- On October 3, Ashwaubenon Public Safety officers responded to a robbery call at the Travelodge Hotel. The investigation revealed a 31-year-old man contacted an ad on Craigslist about paying an unknown female for what he called, "a dinner date." The man then met with the female at a local restaurant and returned to a room at the hotel for a sexual encounter. When in the hotel room, another female entered the room and both began hitting the man, and getting away with his money and wallet.
- On October 26, officers responded to a robbery at an apartment in the 1600 block of W. Main Circle. Investigation found that a 37-year-old man contacted a female from an ad on Backpage.com, and was willing to pay for a sexual encounter at his apartment. The man met with the female, who was accompanied by a second female and a man with a gun. The 37-year-old man was beaten and pistol whipped, and his money was stolen.
- On October 27, officers responded to a robbery at the Extended Stay Airport Hotel. That investigation revealed a 41-year-old man got in touch with three females in an unknown manner causing them to meet at his hotel room. The females attacked the man and took his money.
Crocker says it's assumed by Ashwaubenon Public Safety that there are others this has happened to which haven't been reported either because it's illegal, fear of arrest or being exposed publicly.
Officials want the public to know that when contacting people by these means for casual sexual encounters you not only put yourself at risk of contracting disease or being arrested, it's possible you're setting yourself up to be beaten, robbed or even worse.
Crocker added that utilizing escorting and prostitution services not only keeps these crime rings in business, it also victimizes young women. In many cases, he says, the girls who are used for prostitution purposes are underage and may not be involved voluntarily.