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Albany County is a county in New York with a population of approximately 313,000. It is located south of the Mohawk River and west of the Hudson River. The seat of Albany County is the city of Albany, NY, also the capital of New York State. Prostitution and sex trafficking activity has been well-documented in both incorporated and unincorporated areas of the county.
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. To identify and apprehend local sex buyers driving the prostitution and sex trafficking markets, the Albany Police Department and Albany County Sheriff’s Office have conducted street-level reverse stings and web-based reverse stings to identify and arrest sex buyers. Operations typically employ one or more undercover female officers who pose as decoys. When men attempt to solicit sex from the officers, they are quickly arrested. For example, in 2001, the Albany County Sheriff’s Office conducted a street-level reverse sting that resulted in the arrest of a sex buyer who had agreed to pay cash in exchange for sexually exploiting a 10-year-old girl. The exploiter was arrested on two felony charges: one count of first-degree patronizing a prostitute and one count of first-degree attempted sexual abuse. The offender’s identity, photo, age, location, and charges were included in reports from local news outlets. In addition to releasing offenders’ names to local media outlets, the APD began posting sex buyers’ names on mobile electronic billboards along downtown thoroughfares in late 2009. Other cities in Albany County that have worked to address demand include Albany, Guilderland, and Colonie.
Residents and businesses have complained to law enforcement agencies regarding prostitution activity and the ancillary crimes it generates. Among the more serious crimes associated with the local commercial sex market is child sex trafficking. For example, in April of 2021, the Albany County Sheriff’s Office collaborated with the New York State Police and others in a multiagency investigation into child exploitation and sex trafficking. The investigation took place throughout the Capital District and resulted in the arrest of fifteen individuals whose names, ages, and hometowns were released to the public. Offenders were arrested on charges of Patronizing a Person for Prostitution 2nd degree, Patronizing a Person for Prostitution 3rd degree, Attempted Criminal Sex Act 2nd degree, and/or Attempted Rape 2nd degree. The agencies and units participating include the Troop G Bureau of Criminal Investigations, Troop G Violent Gang and Narcotics Enforcement Team, Troop G Computer Crimes Unit, the Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force from the Albany Division of the FBI, Rotterdam Police Department, North Greenbush Police Department, Colonie Police Department, East Greenbush Police Department, and the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office. The District Attorney’s Offices of Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga, and Schenectady counties were also consulted during this investigation.
In April, 2023, State Police Investigators of Latham arrested a man on charges including Assault in the Second Degree, Attempted Rape in the Second Degree, Attempted Criminal Sex Act in the Second Degree, Patronizing a Person for Prostitution in the Second Degree, Reckless Endangerment in the First Degree, Reckless Endangerment in the Second Degree, Criminal Mischief in the Fourth Degree, Unlawful Fleeing a Police Officer in a Motor Vehicle and multiple Vehicle and Traffic Law Violations. During an investigation, it was determined that the man made arrangements and had traveled from the Buffalo area to an agreed location in Colonie, NY, to meet with what he believed to be a 13-year-old for the purpose of sexual exploitation. When attempts were made to take him into custody, the suspect fled in his vehicle. A pursuit was initiated which traversed several of Colonie’s roadways, lasting approximately 13 minutes, that ended with the suspect being taken into custody without incident in the area of Troy Schenectady Road in Colonie, NY. He was transported to SP Latham for processing and was arraigned at the Colonie Town Court and released on his own recognizance. State investigators had made contact with the man with the assistance of Troop G Computer Crimes Unit (CCU), the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC), and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), and the arrest was made with assistance from the Colonie Police Department, and the Albany County Sheriff’s Office.
- Albany Police Department
- Albany County Sheriff’s Office
- New York State Police
- Troop G
- Bureau of Criminal Investigations
- Violent Gang and Narcotics Enforcement Team
- Computer Crimes Unit
- Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force, FBI – Albany Division
- Rotterdam Police Department
- North Greenbush Police Department
- East Greenbush Police Department
- Colonie Police Department
- Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office
- District Attorney’s Office of Albany
- District Attorney’s Office of Rensselaer
- District Attorney’s Office of Saratoga
- District Attorney’s Office of Schenectady
- Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC)
- Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI)
- Prostitution Sting Nabs Pedophile Suspect (1998)
- Prostitution Sting in Albany County Nets 12 Arrests (2001)
- 14 Arrested in Albany Prostitution Sting (2001)
- Anti-Prostitution Sweep Results in 10 Arrests (2010)
- Get caught with a prostitute in Albany, get your name on a sign (2009)
- Albany Police Sign of Shame for Sex Buyers (2009)
- Police Investigate Child Sexual Exploitation and Human Trafficking-15 Arrested (2021)
Web-Based Reverse Sting:
Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area: