Henrico County, VA

Tactics Used

Reverse stings
Auto seizure
Community service
Public education
Neighborhood action
SOAP orders
John school
Web stings
License suspension

Henrico County is a county of approximately 300,000 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, and cases of human trafficking for sexual exploitation of children, and of adults through the use of force. To deter sex consumers, the Henrico County Police Department routinely conducts street-level reverse sting operations. Dozens of johns have been arrested in these sweeps. Photos with their names and identifying information are then released by the HCPD to local media outlets.  At  least two web-based versions of reverse stings have been conducted, both using online ads and communication with investigators posing as minors, and resulting in the arrest of men for attempting to buy sex with a trafficked child – on one case, a man who was convicted for attempting to buy sex with a five year old girl.  HCPD officers have noted the growing presence of human trafficking networks in the state.

John School

A 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 among 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 johns. 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


Key Partners

Key Sources

State Virginia
Type County
Population 296415
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