Hanover County, VA

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

Hanover County, Virginia lies within the Richmond metropolitan area, and has a population of approximately 110,000. Prostitution activity has been well-documented within the city and surrounding communities, and in unincorporated areas of the county. This activity and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates results in complaints to law enforcement agencies from residents and businesses. Among the more serious crimes associated with the local commercial sex market is sex trafficking. For example, in 2018, a Hanover County man who allegedly responded to an online listing advertising sex with a child posted by undercover federal agents was indicted. The 83 year old man responded to a Craigslist advertisement and sought to pay to sexually abuse an 11-year-old girl, who was actually several undercover special agents with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and Homeland Security. An undercover special agent with the NCIS posted an advertisement on Craigslist referencing a man trying to sell his underage daughter for sexual abuse on a military base, according to a criminal complaint filed in circuit court. The man responded to ask for the email address of the man referenced in the post, and he began sending emails the next day. In some he explicitly asked to meet the underage girl for sex, court documents said. They communicated over email for months, and eventually met to complete the transaction, where he was arrested. He was indicted by a grand jury for attempted rape, using electronic means to commit a child sex crime, prostitution, and 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.  A law enforcement respondent to the 2021 National Assessment Survey reported that web based reverse stings have been conducted about twice per year since 2016 in Hanover County. In July, 2022, Hanover County Sheriff’s Office collaborated with the Henrico County Police Division and the Chesterfield County Police Department to arrest 27 people during “online chatting operations.” All of the suspects had their identities publicly disclosed, and faced charges in connection with soliciting commercial sex from adults through various online platforms, as well as numerous other charges.

Key Partners

  • Hanover County Sheriff’s Office
  • Henrico County Police Division
  • Chesterfield County Police Department

Key Sources

National Assessment Survey – 2021

Web-Based Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

Background on Local Prostitution, Sex Trafficking, Child Endangerment:

State Virginia
Type County
Population 109979
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