Essex County, NJ

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

Essex County is located in the Northeaster part of New Jersey, near New York City. It’s population is approximately 855,000, making it the state’s third-most populous county.  Newark is the largest city in New Jersey and is the county seat of Essex County. That city and other areas of Essex County (including the cities of Irvington, Orange, and Roseland) have reported problems related to prostitution for decades, and have documented cases of sex trafficking (of both adults and minors) and targeted homicides of prostituted and trafficked individuals.

The Newark Police Department has conducted street-level reverse stings since at least 1990, if not earlier, sometimes in collaboration with Essex County law enforcement and other municipal police department. The identities of arrested sex buyers, as well as those of individuals arrested for selling sex, are usually posted on the NPD’s website. Since 2007, NPD officers have seized the vehicles and performed a background check on those arrested while soliciting prostitution from a vehicle.  Among their relatively recent efforts, NPD officers staged three street-level stings targeting sex buyers in February and March 2016. According to the Newark Star-Ledger, officers intercepted 26 attempted sex buyers after the men solicited “police officers posing as prostitutes” in three separate reversals. Arrestees had their cars seized and towed, and their identities released to the public. At least two of the three investigations were prompted by complaints from local residents of prostitution in the area where the stings were staged, Star-Ledger staff reported. When asked about the operations in February, a NPD representative told the press:

“This type behavior won’t be tolerated. [We] will continue to respond to such complaints and target the types of activities that denigrate the quality of life in our communities.”  

In May, 2019, more than a dozen men were arrested in a reverse sting in response to neighbors complaining about the activity on Sherman Avenue between Clifton Street and East Bigelow Avenue in Newark.  In March, 2021 a police officer in Rosland, NJ was arrested and charged with multiple counts of child sexual abuse and “solicitation of prostitution with a minor” (i.e., child sex trafficking); the officer’s photo and identifiers were publicly circulated.

Key Partners

  • Newark Police Department
  • Essex County Prosecutor’s Office

Key Sources

Brothel Raids Resulting in Sex Buyer Arrests:

  • “Newark Prostitution Raid Nets 6 Women, 12 Men”, Newark Star-Ledger, April 27 1993.

Street-Level Reverse Stings:

Identity Disclosure:

Auto Seizure:

Neighborhood Action:

  • “Newark Council Targets Hookers”, Newark Star-Ledger, May 10 1995.

Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

Documented Violence against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:

  • “Police and Prostitutes– Partners in Solving Crime; Streetwalkers Are Eyes and Ears of Authorities in Effort to Solve Murders of 14 Other Women”, Newark Star-Ledger, August 30 1998.
  • “Newark Murder Victim Added to List of County’s Unsolved Prostitute Cases”, Newark Star-Ledger, October 14 1998.
  • “Slay Victim Added to List of Unsolved Prostitute Cases”, Newark Star-Ledger, October 14 1998.
State New Jersey
Type County
Population 854917
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