Holyoke, MA

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

Holyoke is a city of approximately 37,500 residents, located just north of Springfield in Massachusetts in Hampden County. Prostitution activity has been well-documented in the city and surrounding communities, and in unincorporated areas of the county.  Reports of illegal brothels in Holyoke date back to the early 1900s.  Contemporary sex trade 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. Prostitution related violence has also occurred within the Holyoke area.

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. For example, the Holyoke Police Department has incorporated the use of reverse sting tactics to apprehend sex buyers. In the majority of cases, police have first identified an area as high-traffic based on residents’ complaints, then employed both male and female officers to pose as decoy sex buyers and prostituted persons. When either party is approached and solicited, an arrest is made. Holyoke police have released arrestees’ names and other identifiers to the public.

Key Sources

Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:


Background on Local Sex Trafficking, Prostitution:

Background on Sex Trafficking, Prostitution-Related Crime and Violence Within Hampden County:

State Massachusetts
Type City
Population 37463
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