Jersey City, NJ

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

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.

Key Partners

  • Jersey City Police Department

Key Sources

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.
  • (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:

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:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

Documented Violence Against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:

State New Jersey
Type City
Population 283927
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