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Carroll County is located in the U.S. state of Maryland. As of the 2020 census, the population was approximately 173,000. Its county seat is Westminster. Prostitution activity has been well-documented in the city and surrounding communities, and in unincorporated areas of the county. This activity and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates results in complaints to law enforcement agencies from residents and businesses. Among the more serious crimes associated with the local commercial sex market is sex trafficking.
Consumer level demand provides the revenue stream for all prostitution and sex trafficking, and has therefore been targeted by local law enforcement agencies as a strategy for prevention and response. The Carrol County Sheriff’s Office has supported reverse stings and sex buyers arrests in multiple communities, including Westminster and Mount Airy. For example, in October, 2017, a reverse sting at a motel in Westminster produced the arrests of three alleged sex buyers—all of whom responded to a decoy Backpage ad offering sex for a price, and arrived to complete the transactions. Once they arrived at motel rooms, as soon as the money changed hands, the female police officers posing as prostitutes gave the signal and other officers rushed in to arrest them. The undercover operation came in response to complaints from area hotels, and police say once they posted the ad, soon “the phones lit up with callers.” In 2021, a two-month investigation was led by the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office and supported by the Carrol County Sheriff’s Office into a suspected prostitution ring and brothel operating out of a Mount Airy residence. The investigation resulted in the resulted in the arrest of three men and two women on prostitution related charges. The operation was initiated after police received an anonymous tip alleging that the residence was serving as a place for prostitution. Investigators reportedly found advertisements for the alleged brothel on multiple websites known for commercial sex and gained information from an anonymous sex buyer who had visited the address. They also conducted surveillance and witnessed 20 to 30 vehicles come and go at various hours, staying for 30 to 60 minutes. Through their investigation, one arrested suspect allegedly told police he was a sex buyer. The identities, ages, and charges of arrested offenders were included in reports by local media outlets.
Sex Buyer Arrest, Identity Disclosure:
- https://www.fredericknewspost.com/fcso-mount-airy-prostitution-business-shut-down-4-arrested (2021)
- https://www.fredericknewspost.com/ourt-documents-provide-new-details-about-alleged-mount-airy-brothel (2021)
- https://www.localdvm.com/frederick-county-sheriffs-office-and-other-agencies-shut-down-mt-airy-prostitution-ring/ (2021)
Web-Based Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:
- http://www.carrollcountytimes.com/news/crime/cc-westminster-prostitution-sting- (2017)
- http://www.carrollcountytimes.com/topic/crime-law-justice/crime/prostitution/ (2017)
- https://www.wmar2news.com/officers-posing-as-prostitutes-bust-johns (2017)
Background on Local Prostitution and Sex Trafficking:
- Woman charged with pandering (2007)
- “Man Charged with Soliciting Sex from Girl”, Frederick News-Post, October 8 2010.
- “Frederick Man Gets 10 Years for Sex Trafficking”, Frederick News-Post, August 17 2011.
- “Gaithersburg Man Pleads Guilty to Transporting Teen for Prostitution”, Frederick News-Post, September 6 2013.
- https://www.fredericknewspost.com/frederick-man-charged-with-soliciting-sex-from-a-minor (2014)
- https://patch.com/maryland/huntvalley/police-officer-caught-up-in-baltimore-county-prostitution-sting-huntvalley (2014)
- https://www.fredericknewspost.com/registered-sex-offender-charged-with-soliciting-sex-from-a-minor (2014)
- https://www.wbaltv.com/police-officer-among-4-charged-in-prostitution-case/ (2014)
- https://patch.com/man-kept-13 year old-prostitutes-money-plied-her-with-drugs-westminster (2014)
- https://www.fox43.com/article/news/local/contests/prostitution-sting (2015)
- “Hagerstown Man Charged with Trafficking of Two Teenage Girls,” Frederick News-Post, July 1 2015.
- “Martinsburg Man Accused of Human-Trafficking in Frederick,” Hagerstown Herald-Mail, January 15 2016.
- https://www.frederickcountymd.gov/Human-Trafficking-Workshop (2016)
- https://foxbaltimore.com/unlicensed-massage-therapists-arrested-for-prostitution-in-carroll-county (2020)
- https://www.facebook.com/surveillance-undercover-operation-net-two-arrests-at-eldersburg-massage-parlor (2020)