Profile of a Brown County sex buyer: "middle-aged, married and educated"

BROWN COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) The results from a month-long, nationwide human trafficking operation give local investigators a unique profile of exactly who is driving the sex buying market.

It stems from Brown County's involvement in the National Johns Suppression Initiative (NJSI).

As Action 2 News first reported in early August, an operation across the country ended in more than 1,000 arrests of sex buyers, also known as johns.

Thirty-five people were arrested in Brown County in four days.

Now investigators are using data from that operation to shape how they attack the problem in the future.

When investigators log onto any of the nearly dozen sites they consider the online hub of human trafficking, their work revolves around ads to sell sex.

How investigators write those ads during undercover operations may change now because of this most recent operation by the NJSI.

"We need to know who we're going after to maximize our potential of getting those johns off the street," says Sgt. Matt Wilson, the human trafficking investigator for the Brown County Sheriff's Office.

The Cook County Sheriff's Office in Illinois created the initiative to reduce the number of buyers, hoping it means fewer women being trafficked against their will.

Wilson says the Brown County Sheriff's Office and Wisconsin's Division of Criminal Investigation are the only two agencies in the state sending information to the NJSI, and they're already seeing a big benefit of doing that.

NJSI compiles arrest data that investigators can then analyze, both in Brown County and across the country, and resulted in this profile:

"The average john in Brown County is middle-aged, white male, married, college educated, with children," says Wilson.

Sergeant Wilson works almost exclusively on human trafficking cases for the sheriff's office. Despite that experience, even he was surprised to see so many married and highly successful businessmen, usually between 38 and 48 years old, arrested.

"I thought it would be closer to 50-50. However, up until this last national suppression initiative, out of all the arrests I've made this year, which have been around 30-35 males, only one was not married."

Wilson says this information becomes critical for future undercover work to make sure he's truly targeting the problem in Brown County.

"If we get rid of the demand for the victims, then that will hopefully solve a little bit of the victim issue and help us out that way," says Wilson.

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