Bergen County, NJ

Tactics Used

Auto Seizure
Buyer Arrests
Community Service
Employment Loss
Identity Disclosure
IT Based Tactics
John School
License Suspension
Neighborhood Action
Public Education
Reverse Stings
SOAP Orders
Web Stings

Bergen County is the most populous county in the state of New Jersey, with a population of roughly 931,000.  The county is located within 10 miles of Midtown Manhattan. Prostitution and sex trafficking activity have been well-documented in the area, and have generated complaints to law enforcement agencies from residents and businesses. Notable cities and towns in the county that have had serious problems associated with prostitution and sex trafficking include East Rutherford, Paramus, South Hackensack, and Fort Lee. In the timeframe around the Super Bowl in February 2014, agencies in the region collaborated on a number of stings and reverse stings. The FBI was among partners in a Super Bowl sex trafficking task force set up by the New Jersey Attorney General’s office after it was announced that the game would be held in MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford. Soon after the announcement New Jersey officials began training law enforcement personnel, hospitality workers, high school students, airport employees and others to recognize and respond to signs of sex trafficking.  At least one serial killer of prostituted women has operated within Bergen County. Sex trafficking of minors has also been documented locally, as have cases of commercial sex victims being raped.  For example, in February, 2021 it was announced that a large-scale international human trafficking organization had been operating out of Bergen County for the previous five or six years, and had trafficked women from Mexico into the U.S., then sexually exploited them throughout Bergen, Hudson, Middlesex and Passaic Counties in New Jersey, and Rockland and Queens Counties in New York.  Members of a human trafficking and prostitution ring operating out of face charges after a months-long investigation by the Bergen County Prosecutors Office identified over 50 female victims, that often were abused for 12 hours per day, each by 20 to 30 men per day.  More than 20 members of the sex trafficking enterprise operation had been identified and charged with racketeering, human trafficking, prostitution and money laundering offenses.

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 sex buyers Bergen County law enforcement agencies have conducted reverse stings. For example, the South Hackensack Police Department conducted street-level reverse stings in 1997 and 2004. Both operations sent female law enforcement officers undercover as decoys to walk along “troubled” stretches of the Route, and apprehended men as they solicited sex from the officers. While local media outlets publicized the names of those arrested, it is unclear whether or not the information was formally released by the SHPD. In 2004, media outlets reported that Bergen County Sheriff’s Office deputies had completed stings across the county targeting both male sex buyers and those being sold in commercial sex. The stings included operations staged in Paramus. In 2013, an adult sex buyer was arrested in the city after corresponding online and arranging to meet with what he thought was a 15-year-old female (but was, in fact, a law enforcement officer working undercover) to “have sex with him in exchange for money.” The man’s name and arrest photo was released to the public.

Key Partners

  • Bergen County Sheriff’s Office
  • Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Paramus Police Department
  • South Hackensack Police Department
  • Teaneck Police Department
  • FBI
  • New Jersey Attorney General’s Office

Key Sources

Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

Background on Local Sex Trafficking and Prostitution:

Documented Violence Against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:


State New Jersey
Type County
Population 931275
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