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Jersey City contains approximately 284,000 residents and lies within the New York City metro area, situated between Newark and Manhattan in Hudson County. Prostitution, sex trafficking, and prostitution-related violence (including the serial homicide of prostituted women, and the robbery and assault of sex buyers) have been identified as substantial problems in the city and throughout the region.
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 Jersey City Police Department has conducted reverse stings, and seized the vehicles and publicized the identities of arrestees. A comprehensive approach including reverse stings was found to have reduced prostitution in the city. In a rigorous field experiment, Weisburd and colleagues (2006) found a 75% reduction in observed and reported prostitution from a comprehensive approach that included combating demand through reverse stings. The evaluation design tested for displacement effects, and the researchers concluded that the reductions were not attributable to simply pushing the problem to other areas of the city. The comprehensive nature of the intervention prevents attributing the positive effects to the demand component or any other single element of the program, but is consistent with other research on the positive effects of prostitution operations that feature or include demand reduction elements.
Loss of employment is another consequence of buying sex that has occurred within the county. For example, in July, 2013, an employee of the Jersey City Department of Public Works was arrested and faced prostitution and theft charges after police say he solicited a prostituted woman while driving a city pick-up truck. Police said the man admitted to agreeing to pay the woman $15 to perform oral sex on him in the city car. The man was terminated from his public job in addition to facing the criminal charge. He had worked with the city for 28 years. Police said they were at a red light at Danforth and Ocean avenues when they saw a “known prostitute” waving at passing vehicles. The officers saw a green Ford F150 with white stickers on the side identifying it as a DPW car pull over and the woman get into the city vehicle. The truck drove to Cator Avenue just east of Ocean Avenue, which police describe as a “known area where prostitutes bring their customers… to perform sexual acts in exchange for currency.” Police pulled behind the city vehicle when it stopped, and the woman told police the man had agreed to give her $15 in exchange for oral sex, while the man said he was planning to negotiate with her but changed his mind after the deal was made. Both were charged with loitering to engage in prostitution, while the man was charged additionally with unlawful taking by means of conveyance. In a statement from the city, the Mayor said he has a “zero tolerance” policy for the man’s alleged conduct.
In September, 2021, a Jersey City police officer admitted that he drove to Atlantic City for paid sexual abuse of two children. The man was arrested at a parking lot where he allegedly planned to meet adults who offered him the opportunity to sexually assault two girls, ages 8 and 19, for $200. The officer was suspended from the police department immediately following his arrest, and agreed to eight years in prison as part of his plea agreement. He also must register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law, and will be subject to parole supervision for life. The Jersey City Police Department was expected to terminate the man’s employment. Prosecutors said the officer had used an incest group chat app and was told to bring condoms if his intention was to participate in “sexual intercourse.” The man had condoms and more than $500 at the time of his arrest by New Jersey State Police. The man had became a police officer in 2009 after working as a Hudson County Sheriff’s officer.
- Jersey City Police Department
Street-Level Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:
- “Hooker Sweep Nets 27,” Jersey Journal, February 26 1999.
- “Several ‘Johns’ Are Arrested in Greenville Prostitution Sweep,” Jersey Journal, August 14 2003.
- “Cops Nab 20 in Prostitution Sting,” Jersey Journal, June 11 2005.
- Weisburd, D., Wyckoff, L.A., Ready, J., Eck, J.E., Hinkle, J.C., & Gajewski, F. (2006). Does Crime Just Move around the Corner? A Controlled Study of Special Displacement and Diffusion of Crime Control Benefits. Criminology, 44(3):549-591.
- https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Map-of-the-Prostitution-Site-Target-and-Catchment-Areas_fig1 (2006)
- “Jersey City Police Chief Touts Crackdown on Streetwalkers,” Jersey Journal, November 22 2010.
- “Police: 21 Hookers, 13 Johns Busted,” Jersey Journal, November 22 2010.
- “‘Greenville Is under Armed Siege,” Jersey Journal, November 23 2010.
Arrest of Sex Buyers; Identity Disclosure; Loss of employment:
- https://www.nj.com/police_jersey_city_dpw_worker_solicited_prostitute_in_city_pick-up_truck (2013)
- https://newjerseyglobe.com/jersey-city-cop-pleads-guilty-to-seeking-sex-with-minors/ (2021)
Proposed Auto Seizure:
- “Fulop: Cops Should Seize Vehicles from Drug Buyers, Johns,” Jersey Journal, March 23 2007.
- “Take a Prostitute? City May Take Your Car; Fight at Council after Fulop Proposes Forfeiture of Cars for Prostitution, Drugs,” Hudson Reporter Publications, April 23 2007.
Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:
- “From Asia to Work in Heights Brothel,” Jersey Journal, March 27 2004.
- “Police Say He Tried to Buy Sex with Girls,” Jersey Journal, October 24 2007.
- “Jersey City Cops: 20-Year-Old Ohio Woman Held against Her Will by ‘Pimp’ at Society Hill Housing Complex Freed Saturday,” Jersey Journal, February 15 2009.
- “She Defies ‘Pimp’; Cops: Ohio Woman Escapes Prostitution Ring,” Jersey Journal, February 16 2009.
- “Jersey City Man Pleads Guilty to Leading Major Human Trafficking, Prostitution Ring,” U.S. Federal News Service, April 2 2010.
- “Jersey City Pimp’s 73-Year-Old Mother Pleads Guilty to Role in Brutal Prostitution Ring,” Jersey Journal, April 24 2010.
- “Jersey City Man Sentenced to 18 Years in State Prison for Leading Human Trafficking and Prostitution Ring,” U.S. Federal News Service, May 20 2010.
- “Woman Sentenced to Prison for Acting as Boss over Prostitutes in Jersey City Human Trafficking Ring,” U.S. Federal News Service, May 22 2010.
- “Jersey City’s ‘Prince the Pimp’ Dies in Prison,” Jersey Journal, December 28 2011.
- “14-Year-Old Girl Was Forced to Have Sex with up to 10 Men a Day: Authorities,” Jersey Journal, May 15 2015.
- “4 N.J. Men Indicted on Charges They Forced Two Teens into Prostitution,” Jersey Journal, October 9 2015.
Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “One-Woman Sex Business Shut Down,” Jersey Journal, October 12 1999.
- “5 Prostitution Arrests at Spa,” Jersey Journal, January 15 2002.
- “Fancy Spa Was Really a Brothel, Police Say,” Jersey Journal, February 20 2004.
- “4 Massage Parlors Shut, Prostitution Charges for 10 People, Police Report,” Jersey Journal, February 4 2005.
- “Nine Arrests in Drive on Prostitution,” Jersey Journal, September 14 2006.
- “‘Ladies of the Night’ Still a Presence; Prostitution a Problem in Jersey City,” Hudson Reporter Publications, February 18 2007.
- “2 Women Facing Prostitution Charges,” Jersey Journal, May 7 2010.
- “‘John’ Caught with Pants Down; 3 Prostitution Arrests after Tips to Police,” Jersey Journal, April 2 2013.
- “Two Jersey City Municipal Workers Arrested within Two Weeks; Mayor Fulop Vows to Install GPS in All City Vehicles,” Hudson Reporter Publications, July 11 2013.
- “Jersey City Police Shut ‘Parlor’; Cops Charge Prostitution,” Jersey Journal, August 5 2013.
- “Jersey City Police Raid Heights ‘Brothel’,” Jersey Journal, November 5 2013.
- “Jersey City Fire Inspector Admits Accepting Bribes for Official Assistance with Prostitution Businesses,” U.S. Federal News Service, November 15 2014.
- https://hudsoncountyview.com/prosecutor-jersey-city-massage-parlor-owner-arrested-on-prostitution-charges/ (2018)
- https://www.northjersey.com/jersey-city-nj-massage-parlor-owner-charged-prostitution (2018)
- https://www.northjersey.com/new-jersey-human-trafficking-invisible-issues (2022)
- https://www.nj.gov/education/safety/sandp/cwss/ht/ (2022)
- https://www.trentonian.com/human-trafficking-is-a-major-problem-in-new-jersey (2023)
- https://www.tapinto.net/nj-anti-trafficking-organization-wins-national-liberator-award (2023)
Documented Violence Against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:
- “Van Drags Woman, Breaking Her Leg,” Jersey Journal, July 10 1999.
- “Neighbors: Cops Were Told of Prostitution,” Jersey Journal, April 19 2006.
- “Roughed up and Robbed after Picking up Prostitute,” Jersey Journal, July 31 2008.
- “Is It a Serial Killer? Cops Not Sure If British Local Woman among Bodies,” Jersey Journal, December 15 2010.
- “Third Brooklyn Man Charged with Posing as Cop in Kidnapping and Rape of Prostitute Abducted in North Bergen and Dumped from Car in Jersey City 3rd Suspect Sought in Rape of Prostitute by Fake Cops,” Jersey Journal, September 21 2011.
- “Third Man Charged with Posing as Cop in Kidnapping, Rape of Prostitute Abducted in North Bergen,” Jersey Journal, September 21 2011.
- “Jersey City Pimp, Wanted for Stabbing a Prostitute, Caught in Louisiana after 5 Years,” Jersey Journal, November 8 2011.
- “More than Five Years of Running Ends as Alleged Pimp Is Formally Charged with Killing Jersey City Prostitute; Fugitive Caught Last Month in Louisiana Fugitive Murder Suspect in CJP after 5 Years,” Jersey Journal, November 8 2011.
- “Search Sparked by Missing Jersey City Prostitute Is Inconclusive,” Jersey Journal, December 6 2011.
- “Skeletal Remains Believed to Be from Missing Jersey City Prostitute Found in Long Island Marshland,” Jersey Journal, December 14 2011.
- https://nj1015.com/mom-of-dead-jersey-city-prostitute-shannan-gilbert-found-stabbed-to-death/ (2018)