Chelsea is a densely populated city of about 35,000 residents, located across the Mystic River from Boston in Suffolk County, Massachusetts, near Everett and Revere. Commercial sex activity, conducted both at street level and within local businesses, has been reported in the community for at least two decades, and has generated complaints from city residents. Cases of sex trafficking, at times involving minors, have also been documented. For example, in August, 2019, nine individuals were charged with trafficking victims for sex at three residential locations in Chelsea, East Boston and Lynn that served as fronts for human trafficking. The defendants were arrested by Massachusetts State Police, and were arraigned in Chelsea District Court on charges including Trafficking of Persons for Sexual Servitude, Deriving Support from Prostitution, Conspiracy to Commit Trafficking. Local sex sellers have also been targeted in kidnapping attempts and homicides.
To reduce the size and scope of the city’s prostitution market, the Chelsea Police Department has incorporated tactics aimed at reducing demand for commercial sex. Since at least 1996, CPD officers have conducted reverse stings, sending female undercover officers to pose as decoys in high-stroll areas. Such stings have at times been conducted in parallel with operations targeting individuals offering acts of prostitution. The CPD and city officials often post press releases summarizing anti-prostitution investigations (including arrest totals) to their official websites, but do not typically disclose the identities of offenders. Chelsea officials have also utilized police surveillance cameras– installed in designated “hot spots” in the community– to combat prostitution and other crimes since the 1980s.
- Chelsea Police Department
- Street-Level Reverse Stings:
- “Man Arrested Twice over Decoy Officer,” Boston Globe, December 14 1996.
- “Gangs, Pushers and Johns Busted in Chelsea Raid,” Boston Herald, September 19 2003.
- “Chelsea Police Department Arrest 14 in Prostitution/ John Sweep,” Press Release, Chelsea Police Department, August 21 2010.
- “Chelsea Police Department Arrest Eight in Prostitution/ John Sweep,” Press Release, Chelsea Police Department, September 1 2011.
- “Chelsea Police Announce Summer Enforcement Plan,” Press Release, Chelsea Police Department, June 19 2012.
- https://chelseapolice.com/2013/09/09/chelsea-police-department-conduct-prostitution-john-sweep/ (2013)
- “FOX25 Investigates Undercover Prostitution Stings,” FOX/WFXT-TV 25, November 3 2015.
- https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2015/09/19/chelsea-police-arrest-prostitution-sting (2015)
- https://boston.cbslocal.com/2015/09/19/chelsea-deflate-date-prostitution-sting/ (2015)
- Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:
- “Hub Kidnap Reports Probed; Missing Girl Reported Seen,” Boston Globe, May 31 1984.
- “Victim at Alleged Kidnappers’ Trial Tells of Being ‘Initiated,’ by Rape,” Boston Globe, January 10 1985.
- “Child-Prostitution Cases Reveal Cruel Underworld,” USA Today, July 26 2006.
- “Chelsea Woman Sentenced in Child Prostitution Case,” Boston Globe, April 28 2007.
- “Pimping Teen Lands Man in Prison,” Boston Herald, July 23 2007.
- “City, State Monitors Catch Dumping; Pimp Receives Maximum Prison Term,” Boston Globe, July 24 2007.
- “Hub Man Guilty in Kid Prostitution,” Boston Herald, February 5 2008.
- “Brookline Man Held on $10,000 Bail by Judge for Rape, Prostitution Charges,” Wicked Local Brookline, July 20 2010.
- “Police Arrest Brookline Man Wanted in Prostitution, Rape Case,” Brookline Patch, July 20 2010.
- “Alleged Operators of Hub Sex-Slave Ring Go on Trial,” Boston Herald, February 8 2014.
- “Carver Police Arrest Chelsea Man,” Press Release, Carver Police Department, February 14 2014.
- https://framinghamsource.com/9-charged-with-trafficking-victims-for-sex-out-of-residential-homes/ (2019)
- Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “Police Probe May Shut down Bookie’s Chelsea Pub,” Boston Herald, May 13 1994.
- “38 Arrested on Drug, Prostitution Charges,” Boston Globe, June 10 2001.
- “Prostitution, and Ire, Rising; Councilor Says Complaints Follow Chelsea Crackdown,” Boston Globe, November 14 2004.
- “NOT IN MY BACK YARD! Chelsea Hookers’ Migration Outrages Everett,” Boston Herald, December 31 2004.
- “Two-Man Vice Squad Nabs Hundreds,” Boston Herald, December 31 2004.
- “Program Targets Sex Trade ; City Fights Increase in Teen Prostitutes,” Boston Globe, January 4 2009.
- “Clerk Allegedly Offered Hooker Favors for Sex,” Boston Herald, February 28 2009.
- “Chelsea Assistant Clerk Magistrate Sentenced after Conviction for Two Civil Rights Violations,” Press Release, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts, December 16 2010.
- “T Cop Tied to Rat-Mailing Case Quits Job,” Boston Herald, June 29 2012.
- Documented Violence against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:
- “Prostitute Tearfully Claims Fatal Stabbing Was in Self-Defense,” Boston Herald, February 23 2001.“Man Charged in Unidentified Hooker’s Gruesome Murder,” Boston Herald, September 1 2001.
- “Beheaded Woman’s Identity Unsolved,” Boston Herald, September 2 2001.
- “Cops Call Fla. Police in Slay Probe,” Boston Herald, September 6 2001.
- “Teens Nabbed in Alleged Hooker Kidnap Try,” Boston Herald, December 21 2001.
- “HEAD, HANDS FOUND Cops Eye Link to Missing Hooker,” Boston Herald, January 20 2004.
- “Suspected Killer’s Admission May Help ID Slain Prostitute,” Boston Herald, January 22 2004.