BROWN COUNTY - A crackdown on prostitution problems in Brown County led to 21 arrests.
Authorities say an undercover investigation was conducted last week in Howard. Sheriff's officials say the investigation happened after receiving a number of reports of illegal sexual activity.
Officials aren't saying how they were able to catch these people, or exactly where the arrests were made. They say that is because they plan to do the undercover operation again.
"We know this is just a drop in the bucket," said Captain David Konrath, with the Brown County Sheriff's Department. "We are being proactive, but we know one instance of an operation is not going to make the prostitution or that type of activity go away."
Of the 21 people arrested, 17 are women and four are men. Ages range from 18 to 50. FOX 11 is not naming anyone arrested because formal charges have not been filed yet.
"For the most part the males seem to be the ones who are charged with making the arrangements, but then you have the independent individuals doing it on their own," said Konrath.
The investigation landed a wide range of recommended charges. Nine people were arrested for prostitution. 15 people are in trouble for either failing to register as an escort, failing to have an escort license or both.
"Escort services, they have to be registered," said Konrath. "Escort in itself doesn't mean prostitution, but individuals are using that as a front to make connections for prostitution."
Authorities say most of the arrests will only result in fines. No felonies were recommended and most of those arrested are only facing ordinance violations.
"In discussions with some of the individuals who were arrested and the fines that are associated with it, they don't seem to think that's a big issue, because they can make it up in a few days," said Konrath.
Sheriff's officials blame the internet for an increase in prostitution. They believe the people arrested are involved in other criminal activity and hope the arrests will prevent some of that from happening.
"There's always been prostitutes in our area," said Konrath. "It seems that there is an increase or surge in these type of activities. It's happening from the Fox River Valley up to Green Bay."
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