Amesbury, MA

Tactics Used

Buyer Arrests
Reverse stings
Auto seizure
Community service
Public education
Neighborhood action
SOAP orders
John school
Web stings
License suspension

Amesbury is a city of approximately 17,000 residents, located in Northeastern Massachusetts, about 40 miles north of Boston in Essex County. Prostitution and sex trafficking activity have been well-documented in the city and surrounding communities. Prostitution has been investigated in local hotels and other businesses, generating other serious crimes (including child sex trafficking) and resulting in complaints to law enforcement agencies. For example, in April 2011, a former Amesbury police officer was one of three men arrested in a prostitution sting in nearby Portsmouth, NH.

Although consumer level demand provides the revenue stream for all prostitution and sex trafficking, it has seldom been targeted by local law enforcement agencies as a strategy for prevention and response. In at least one case a man was arrested for attempting to buy sex with a minor, and his identity disclosed by police in press releases, but the arrest was the result of an incident reported to police, and was not the result of a proactive reverse sting: In May, 2018 a man was arrested by officers from the Amesbury Police Department and charged with electronic enticement of a child for prostitution, aggravated rape of a child, reckless endangerment of a child, and sexual conduct for a fee. In June, 2018 the man was ordered held without bail after a Newburyport District Court judge deemed him too dangerous to be released pending trial. The victim 15-year-old victim described how the offender met her on the social media site Snapchat and over a period of several months, enticed her to meet him. The man met the victim at a park and drove her to an Amesbury hotel.

Key Partners

  • Amesbury Police Department
  • Newburyport District Court
  • Middleton Jail
State Massachusetts
Type City
Population 17430
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