Fairfax County occupies the northeastern part of Virginia, bordering Alexandria and Arlington County in the suburban Washington, DC area. Some cities in Fairfax County that have worked to address demand include Fairfax, Falls Church, Herndon, Mount Vernon, Springfield, and Tysons Corner. The county has approximately 1.146 million residents. Prostitution and sex trafficking have been identified as substantial local problems, which also drive a wide range of other serious crimes. For example, in 2012, federal law enforcement agencies charged five alleged members of a Fairfax County street gang with running a prostitution and sex trafficking ring that recruited high school girls and threatened them with violence if they didn’t cooperate. According to the FBI, the suspects not only threatened the girls with violence, but also forced them to take drugs if they refused to participate or didn’t perform as directed. Many other problems driven by the commercial sex market have been documented in the county, including the rape, assault, and murder of prostituted women (including the activity of more than one serial rapist and murderer in the area over the past 25 years who specifically targeted prostituted women). A pimp has also been murdered in the county (in Alexandria) while being robbed by MS-13 gang members.
Residents have complained to police about prostitution in their neighborhoods. Police have addressed such problems using reverse sting operations. For example, in August 2013, Fairfax County police arrested 23 men on charges of soliciting prostitution, following an undercover operation executed between 3 and 10 p.m. Police undertook the operation in response to citizen concerns. Officers worked undercover and, after communicating online, met men at four different hotels in Springfield, Falls Church, Herndon and Tysons Corner. The FCPD’s Organized Crime and Narcotics Division (OCN) led the investigation, which was supplemented by patrol officers. News reports do not usually include the identities of the men arrested, but they have been disclosed in press releases by Fairfax County police.
- Fairfax County Police Department
- Organized Crime and Narcotics Division
- Reverse Stings and Shaming:
- “36 Men Arrested in Fairfax in Prostitution Crackdown: Women Undercover Officers Used Rte. 1”, Washington Post, October 9 1991.
- “21 Arrested in Prostitution ‘Sting'”, Washington Post, October 26 1993.
- “Police Arrest 26 Men in Prostitution Sting”, Washington Times, May 2 1994.
- “Police Charge 33 Men with Soliciting Sex”, Washington Times, August 15 1994.
- “Suburban Prostitution Targeted: Stings, New Penalties Among Police Tactics”, Washington Post, October 10 1996.
- “43 Men Arrested in Prostitution Sting”, Washington Times, November 3 1997.
- “Fairfax Police Report Results of Prostitution Sting in Tyson/Falls Church Area”, Falls Church News-Press, October 8 2009.
- “Undercover Police Arrest 23 During Prostitution Sting”, McLean Sun Gazette, October 15 2009.
- “County Police Make Arrests in Prostitution Stings”, McLean Sun Gazette, August 28 2013.
- Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:
- “Gang Enters New Territory with Sex Trafficking”, NPR, November 14 2011.
- “Feds Charge Fairfax Gang with Prostituting High School Girls”, Lorton Patch, March 30 2012.
- “Police Bust Prostitution Ring in Herndon”, ABC/WJLA-TV 7, January 11 2013.
- “Feds Recast Child Prostitutes as Victims, Not Criminals”, National Public Radio, October 24 2013.
- http://www.fallschurchva.gov/Archive/ViewFile/Item/651 (2013)
- https://www.ibtimes.com/lawyer-who-lured-school-girls-money-drugs-tiffany-bags-charged-sex-trafficking (2020)
- Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “Prostitution Raid Nets 2 Women, 3 Men”, Washington Times, July 6 1993.
- “Two Get Prison Terms for Child Prostitution Scheme”, Daily Press (Virginia), April 16 1995.
- https://www.nbcwashington.com/Falls-Church-Man-Arrested-for-Sex-Trafficking-of-Runaway-Young-Girl (2014)