Special Report: Undercover Sex Sting in NW Ohio - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Special Report: Undercover Sex Sting in NW Ohio

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(Toledo News Now) -

Where is it happening? 

Anywhere! Truck stops, hotels, motels and rest areas

How is it happening? 

The advent of the internet has drastically changed the prostitution industry. Backpage, City Vibe, Exotic Review, Facebook and Twitter have made it easy to conduct this type of business. While the internet may allow some kids, women and men to solicit themselves for money on their own, the majority of the time they're not voluntarily performing sexual acts for their financial gain; a pimp or trafficker is usually pushing sex workers into the hands of their clients. 

What about prostitution is unique to Northwest Ohio? 

Toledo is an origin city – young girls and boys are often recruited here, unknowingly groomed for the prostitution industry and then taken from Toledo to larger cities. It's a family business. There seems to be a generational involvement with pimps in Northwest Ohio—families are involved in the business year after year. Pimps can be female. It doesn't necessarily have to be a guy. There are a lot of instances where the person facilitating this type of activity is a woman.  –David Dustin, Supervisory Senior Resident Agent, FBI

The Statistics

Wood County 
Prostitution 
2013
99 arrests

Toledo Police Dept. 
Prostitution 
2013
86 arrests

Ohio Attorney General 
2013
30 human trafficking investigations
16 arrests
7 convictions

The Facts

• According to the FBI, the average lifespan of a prostitute is 7 years as a result of drug overdoses and homicides. 

• The FBI estimates 85% of commercial sex workers experience some degree of force, fraud or coercion. 

• The International Labor Organization estimates human trafficking, the selling of a person for forced labor is a $32 billion global business. 

• The US Dept. of Justice reports the profit made each year from human trafficking is $9.8 billion – the internet is helping increase profitability and frequency. 

The Sting

February 13
Knights Inn, Rossford

Wood County Sheriff's Office
Ottawa County Sheriff's Office
Rossford Police
Perrysburg Township Police

Room 104 – Team of police officers fitted with surveillance, video recorders and mics
Room 106 – undercover female cop 

The Johns 

Jim Pheils
Toledo, Ohio
45
Solicitation 
Sexual Imposition

Gary Noplis
Palmyra, Michigan
42
Solicitation 

Timothy Hartzler
Bluffton, Ohio
65
Solicitation
 
Michael Pinter
South Lyon, Michigan
35
Solicitation

"John School" – First Offender Prostitution Program – Lucas County 

Goal: Reduce demand for commercialized sex

Fee: $300 – the program is at NO cost to taxpayers

Requirement: Must attend a one-time class and remain free from reoffending for one year in order to receive lesser penalty 

Men who attend are taught the following: 

• Health risks associated with prostitution 
• Connection between commercial sex and human trafficking
• Legal consequences
• Encouraged to explore the psycho-social reasons they paid for sex 

The Lucas County program began four years ago. 
In 2013, 18 men participated. 

The Ohio Attorney General released a report with the following local law enforcement violations.

For more information about Ohio's plan to curb prostitution and human trafficking, review House Bill 130.

Copyright 2014 Toledo News Now. All rights reserved.