Bristol, VA

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

Bristol is a city of about 17,000 residents located in the southeastern part of Virginia.  The city straddles the Northeastern border of Tennessee, and is considered part of the “Tri-Cities” area comprised of Bristol (Virginia and Tennessee), Johnson City (Tennessee), Kingsport (Tennessee) and surrounding smaller communities.  A wide range of problems associated with commercial sex has been documented in the area, including the activity of a serial killer who specifically targeted prostituted women.

Efforts to address local problems associated with commercial sex have included the use of tactics focusing on demand.  Bristol, Virginia and the Tennessee Tri-Cities have all conducted reverse stings on city streets using police decoys. The names, ages, and hometowns of the men arrested have been posted in the news with details of the operations. In January 2018, at least 10 men seeking to pay to sexually abuse children contacted a Bristol Virginia police officer’s decoy social media profile. A vice unit detective created the social media profile that attracted the men, nine of whom were arrested and charged.

Key Partners

  • Bristol Virginia Police Department

Key Sources

Street-Level Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

Web Based Sting:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

  • “Bristol Woman Charged with Prostitution,” Bristol Herald Courier, May 25 2010.
  • “Women Walk the Streets in Bristol for Sex,” Bristol Herald Courier, May 26 2010.
  • “Two Arrests Made in Prostitution Stings in Bristol,” Bristol Herald Courier, July 14 2010.
  • “Woman Arrested on Prostitution Charge in Downtown Bristol, Virginia,” Bristol Herald Courier, July 15 2015.
State Virginia
Type City
Population 17054
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