East Bridgewater, 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

East Bridgewater is a town of about 14,500 located about 26 miles south of Boston. Prostitution and sex trafficking in the community have been well documented problems for decades. 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. In October 1999, investigators from Bridgewater, East Bridgewater, and West Bridgewater formed the WEB Major Crimes and Drug Task Force. In 2007 and 2008, this task force conducted a reverse sting using investigators posting ads on Craigslist, which yielded  hundreds of responses. The investigation was initiated by complaints and tips from the community about prostitution occurring in a residence. In 2007, seven sex buyers were arrested and their identities publicly disclosed, and police seized over $3,000. In 2008, the East Bridgewater Police department initiated a reverse sting operation which resulted in nine arrests for prostitution.  The names, ages, and addresses of the arrested sex buyers were published in local media outlets in an effort to shame and deter offenders.  In addition, cash totaling about $500 was seized from the men.

Not all arrests of sex buyers begin with decoy operations, but are instead the result of investigating allegations against real victims.  For example, in December, 2021, a man was arrested on child sex trafficking charges after investigators discovered he’d allegedly extorted sexual material from two children from East Bridgewater. He was arrested by East Bridgewater police on three counts of trafficking a children, three counts of enticing a child for trafficking and a charge each of distributing a picture of a naked child and posing a child in a sex act. A detective began investigating inappropriate messages sent to a minor on and found that the man had been talking to two children — their ages weren’t given — to extort explicit material from them through threats and promises of money and drugs, police said. The detective reached out to the suspect, posing as a friend of the children, and agreed to meet up to exchange sex for marijuana, according to police. The meeting was a sting, and the suspect was arrested by officers with the assistance of a regional crime task force when he messaged the detective he’d arrived and investigators found his phone had been used to arrange the meeting. The man was arraigned in Brockton District Court and ordered held for up to 90 days on $30,000 bail, while his bail in another case was revoked, police said. He’ll be required to wear a GPS monitor, stay out of East Bridgewater and not speak with any children if he makes bail.

Key Partners

  • East Bridgewater Police Department
  • Bridgewater Police Department
  • West Bridgewater Police Department
  • WEB Major Crimes and Drug Task Force
State Massachusetts
Type City
Population 14509
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