Henrico 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

Henrico County is a county of approximately 334,000 residents located in central Virginia, and its population center is the city of Richmond. Prostitution is a visible and persistent problem in the areas surrounding Richmond, including cases of human trafficking for sexual exploitation of children, and of adults through the use of force. To deter sex buyers, the Henrico County Police Department has – at times – routinely conducted street-level reverse sting operations. Dozens of sex buyers have been arrested in those operations. Photos with names and identifying information of arrested sex buyers have been released by the HCPD to local media outlets. Web-based versions of reverse stings have been conducted, using online ads and communication with investigators posing as minors, and resulting in the arrest of men for attempting to buy access to sexually abuse a trafficked child — in one case, a man who was convicted for attempting to buy a five year old girl for sexual abuse. HCPD officers have noted the growing presence of human trafficking networks in the state.

In August, 2022, nine men were arrested during a two-day online operation by the Henrico Police Vice Investigations Team targeting people soliciting juveniles for sex. According to the Henrico County Police Department, the offenders solicited minors for sex online and later attempted to meet them in person at an undisclosed location in Henrico County. Instead, they were met by Henrico Police officers. The identities of the arrested individuals were publicly disclosed. The charges they faced include soliciting a minor for prostitution, using a communication device to solicit a minor, and possession of schedule I or II drugs. In a similar operation in December, 2022, Henrico County Police and Virginia State Police arrested eight men who were charged with solicitation for prostitution.

John School

A local john school was launched in March 2013. The class is part of a plea agreement defendants may be offered. The plea agreement also includes six hours of jail time, HIV and hepatitis C screening, a ban from all Henrico hotels, 24 hours of community service, and probation. The program is in collaboration with Commonwealth Catholic Charities, the Henrico Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office, Henrico Community Corrections, Gray Haven, and Henrico Public Health. Safe Harbor Shelter and The Gray Haven Project, two local shelters for victims of sexual and domestic abuse, each receive $60 of the $300 fee paid by sex buyers. The rest goes to overhead and direct costs. In addition, men must meet with a counselor for an assessment prior to attendance, and must pay $60 for the assessment.

The john school description and contact information provided by Commonwealth Catholic Charities is as follows:

Our John School teaches the harm caused by prostitution. You will learn about the impact of prostitution on you, on your family, and in your community. You will explore your personal motivations for paying for sex and develop a prevention plan. The class is facilitated with the help of professionals from the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney, Henrico Health Department, and The Gray Haven.

Classes are $300 and meet 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM. If you are court ordered to attend, your progress is reported to your probation officer. Before enrolling, you need to participate in an assessment with a counselor. Assessments are $60 and scheduled by appointment only. For appointment and questions call 804.545.5907

A law enforcement respondent to the 2022 National Assessment Survey reported that sex buyer arrests, vehicle seizures, driver’s license suspensions, and public education specifically targeting the demand for commercial sex have occurred in Henrico County since 2010, and the use of cameras to help fight demand have been used since 2012.

Key Partners

Key Sources

National Assessment Survey, 2022

John School:

Reverse Stings (Mode Unclear):

Street-Level Reverse Stings:

Web-Based Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

Identity Disclosure:

Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

Child Endangerment:

  • “9-Year-Old Found in West Broad Motel Bathroom during Prostitution Sting,” CBS/WTVR-TV 6, March 1 2016.

Documented Violence against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:

State Virginia
Type County
Population 333554
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