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Easton is a town with a population of about 17,000 located in the eastern part of Maryland on Chesapeake Bay. Prostitution and sex trafficking are substantial problems in the area, including human trafficking, and the sexual assault and murder of women and girls in prostitution. For example, in September 2008, seven women came forward to accuse an Easton man of impersonating a police officer and sexually assaulting them. The man was arrested and charged with impersonating a police officer, second-degree assault and fourth-degree sex offense. Allegations about the man impersonating a police officer first surfaced during the investigation into the death of a prostituted woman; the man had been arrested as part of a reverse sting, and was identified in a photo lineup by a woman who charged that he fondled her after claiming he was an undercover Maryland State Police trooper. In 2010, three arrests were made in a home used for prostitution in a residential area, and two of the individuals were charged with human trafficking. In 2013, a federal jury convicted two men who operated a brothel in Easton on charges including conspiring to transport and entice females to travel interstate for prostitution; transporting females for prostitution; enticing females to travel interstate for prostitution; sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion; and possessing a gun in furtherance of sex trafficking.
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 local sex buyers driving the prostitution and sex trafficking markets, reverse stings have been occurring in Easton since at least 2007, and may have been employed earlier. Once arrested, sex buyers are subject to punishments such as identity disclosure, where their names, ages, and city of residence are publicized.
- Easton Police Department
- Special Operations Division
- Patrol Division
- Talbot County Narcotics Task Force
- “Police Bust 9 in Easton Prostitution Sting”, CBS/WBOC-TV 16, July 9 2007.
- http://www.topix.com/easton-police-make-arrests-in-undercover-prostitution-sting (2007)
Background on Local Sex Trafficking and Prostitution:
- https://www.cecildaily.com/news/more-women-accuse-easton-man-of-sexual-assault-impersonating-police-officer (2008)
- http://www.wboc.com/story/easton-police-investigate-a-possible-prostitution-house (2009)
- http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/crime/bs-md-ci-forced-prostitution-ring-Easton (2011)
- “Revisiting the Neighborhood of the Easton Brothel”, World Now, April 24 2013.
- “Authorities Bust Interstate Sex Trafficking, Brothel Operation”, ABC/WMAR-TV 2, September 11 2013.
- http://www.baltimorenewsjournal.com/ringleader-sentenced-to-35-years-in-prison-on-sex-trafficking-charges/ (2013)
- https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/pr/ringleader-and-brothel-operator-convicted-sex-trafficking-charges (2013)
- https://www.frederickcountymd.gov/Human-Trafficking-Workshop (2016)