Jersey City, NJ

Tactics Used

Auto Seizure
Buyer Arrests
Cameras
Community Service
Employment Loss
Identity Disclosure
IT Based Tactics
John School
Letters
License Suspension
Neighborhood Action
Public Education
Reverse Stings
SOAP Orders
Web Stings

Jersey City is an urban community of about 250,000 in the New York City metro area, situated between Newark and Manhattan.  Prostitution, sex trafficking, and prostitution-related violence have been identified as substantial problems in the city. To combat consumer-level demand for commercial sex, 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.  However, the comprehensive nature of the intervention prevents attributing the positive effects to the demand component or any other single element of the program.

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 a paid sexual encounter with two underage girls. The man was arrested at a parking lot where he allegedly planned to meet adults who offered him the chance 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 with Shaming:

  • “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.
  • “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 and Shaming of Sex Buyers; 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:

  • “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.

Documented Violence against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:

State New Jersey
Type City
Population 242503
Location
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