Brockton, MA

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

Brockton is a city of approximately 96,000 residents, located about one half hour southeast of Boston near East and West Bridgewater in Plymouth County, Massachusetts.  Prostitution and sex trafficking are longstanding, well-documented problems in the city.  Among the problems associated with city’s local commercial sex market are a serial rapist targeting Brockton’s prostituted women in the early 2000s and multiple cases of homicide of prostituted women. Young teenagers from Brockton have also been found to be victims of child sex trafficking in Boston and Providence. Local child sex trafficking cases have also included child sexual abuse materials (CSAM, often called “child pornography” in state criminal law).  For example, in January, 2019, a party inside an apartment in Brockton turned into a horrific ordeal for a 16-year-old Fitchburg girl, who was not allowed to leave and was forced into prostitution (i.e., sex trafficking). Three individuals were arrested and charged with various child sex trafficking offenses. Brockton Police received a report from an old friend of the victim saying that she was being held hostage in an apartment on Howard St. Earlier that night, a missing person report had been filed for the girl out of Fitchburg, who had had reached out to the friend using Facebook Messenger. When police arrived they heard a girl scream “Help me get the (expletive) out of here” and she ran toward the door. The officers forced their way into the apartment where they found the victim and the three defendants. The victim told police that she knew one of the men who had contacted her and invited her to a party in Brockton. After getting to the apartment the people at the party would not let her leave and they “wanted to make her a prostitute,” giving her alcohol and marijuana and persuading her to take off her clothes for partially nude pictures to use to advertise for prostitution on the website A man answered the ad and eventually showed up at the apartment and the girl was forced into committing a paid act of sexual abuse of a minor. At one point, she got into an argument with one of the men who attempted to have sex with her, and when she refused, he hit her in the face.  Charges for the defendants included enticing a child under 16, assault and battery, distribution of material of a child in the nude, trafficking of a person under 18 for sexual servitude, sexual conduct for a fee, inducing a child into prostitution, and procuring liquor for a person under 21.

Residents and business frequently complain to police about the negative effects of prostitution on the community and on them and their businesses. Referring to efforts to control prostitution by arrested women who sell sex as a “revolving door” that produces no lasting results, the city has recently attempted to combat demand.  Neighborhood watch programs formed in 1994 that focused, in part, on deterring men from buying sex.   Recent reverse stings have been driven by high-profile complaints to police by individual residents, businesses, and business organizations (Montello Business Association).  A reverse sting in July 2013, for example, resulted in the arrest of nine sex buyers.

Brockton Police have conducted street-level reverse stings since at least 1986, if not earlier. That year, the department reported to the Bangor Daily News that, although they “did not have undercover female agents to go after male customers in 1984-1985”, they had recently hired female officers and arrested 27 male sex buyers in a one-month period. While the BPD releases the identities of arrestees, not all news outlets carry them routinely. In the early 1990s, however, several media outlets cited the Brockton Enterprise’s use of shaming after an arrested buyer committed suicide following the publicity. This may in part account for the Brockton Enterprise‘s current position. Following an August 2012 operation, the paper noted that posting the identities and photos of arrestees was an exception to their normal practice:

“While it is not the policy of The Enterprise to regularly run the names of those charged with  prostitution or solicitation of prostitution, the newspaper believes the number of arrests this week and the  goal of the Brockton Police Department to raise awareness of this community issue warrant an exception.”

The Brockton Police Department has also reported that they have used surveillance cameras in their anti-prostitution efforts, although we do not have details about specifically how these devices are used to apprehend target sex buyers.

Key Partners

  • Brockton Police Department
  • Plymouth County Sheriff’s Department
  • Plymouth County District Attorney

Key Sources

National Assessment Survey

Street-Level Reverse Stings:

Web-Based Reverse Stings:

Identity Disclosure:

Neighborhood Action:

Local Sex Trafficking, Child Sexual Exploitation, Related CSAM:

Documented Violence against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

State Massachusetts
Type City
Population 95740
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