Jessup is a small community of approximately 8,000 residents, located near Laurel and Savage in Howard County, Maryland. Situated along the Route 1 corridor, it is one of several unincorporated areas in the vicinity that are known for prevalent street- and hotel-based prostitution and sex trafficking.
To address these issues, the Howard County Police Department has conducted many reverse stings in Jessup using undercover officers as decoys. The names, ages, and hometowns of each arrested john are released to the media, and are usually reported in the local news.
Three reverse stings were conducted in Jessup in 2013 alone. For example, in August 2013, the HCPD sent female officers undercover along Washington Boulevard, and intercepted individuals as they approached and solicited the women. Nine johns were arrested as a result. A tenth man was charged with human trafficking after approaching one of the officers “as a pimp and soliciting her to work for him.”
In December 2015, media outlets reported the completion of a web-based reverse sting in the community. HCPD officers reportedly posted a decoy advertisement to a website known for commercial sex solicitation, and arranged to meet the men who responded in the Washington Boulevard area of Jessup. Six men were arrested as a result; all of their identities were publicized in press. In a statement to the Baltimore Sun about the investigation, a HCPD representative indicated that law enforcement “will be posting new ads on similar websites [in the future] to remind the community of the dangers and punishments relating to human trafficking,” and will “offer resources to victims, such as housing, treatment assistance, and transportation.”
Similar web-based reversals were subsequently conducted. For example, an operation in February 2016 netted 13 johns, one in September 2016 produced 10 arrests, and another in July 2018 produced six arrests. The identities of all arrested sex buyers were included in news releases.
In September, 2020, eight Maryland men were arrested in an undercover prostitution operation launched by the Howard County Police Department. None of the men lived in Howard County. The sting unfolded at a hotel in the 8100 block of Washington Boulevard in Jessup. Detectives had placed decoy ads on websites known to be used for prostitution. Men who called the number in the ad spoke with an undercover officer who provided a meeting location upon the caller’s request. When the men arrived and offered money for sex acts, they were arrested and charged with solicitation of prostitution and disorderly conduct. The identities of the men were disclosed in news reports.
- Howard County Police Department
- Anne Arundel Police Department
- National Assessment Survey
- Street-Level Reverse Stings with Shaming:
- “10 Arrested as Md. Police Raid Jessup Truck Stop”, Washington Post, April 23 1988.
- “Police Investigating Hate-Bias Incident”, Baltimore Sun, November 19 1996.
- “Prostitution Sting Nets 7 in Jessup”, Baltimore Sun, June 16 2000.
- “Vice-Drug Sting in Jessup Nets 12 Arrests”, Baltimore Sun, December 11 2005.
- “Howard Operation Nets Prostitution and Drug Arrests”, Baltimore Sun, July 22 2006.
- “Crime Watch”, Baltimore Sun, September 7 2006.
- “Police Snare 14 in Prostitution Sting in Jessup”, Baltimore Sun, October 31 2008.
- “Police Arrest 17 in Prostitution Sting”, Baltimore Sun, August 4 2009.
- “Police Boost Sex Arrests”,Baltimore Sun, October 11 2009.
- “Police Persist in Prostitution Stings”, Gaithersburg Gazette, November 12 2009.
- “Crime Scene: 13 Charged with Soliciting Prostitution”, Washington Post, August 30 2010.
- “Federal-Local Prostitution Sting in Jessup Yields Arrests of 23 Men”, Baltimore Sun, September 27 2012.
- “Howard Police Arrest 10 Men in Prostitution Sting”, Baltimore Sun, August 23 2013.
- “Two Montgomery County Men Arrested in Howard County Prostitution Sting”, Gaithersburg Gazette, August 26 2013.
- https://patch.com/maryland/columbia/columbia-man-arrested-prostitution-sting-police (2018)
- Web-Based Reverse Stings with Shaming:
- “Police: 6 Men Arrested in Prostitution Investigation,” ABC/WMAR-TV 2, December 18 2015.
- “Six Men Arrested, Charged with Prostitution Solicitation,” Baltimore Sun, December 18 2015.
- “Howard Detectives Arrest 13 Men in Prostitution Operation,” Baltimore Sun, February 24 2016.
- https://www.wusa9.com/10-men-arrested-for-solicitation-of-prostitution (2016)
- http://wjla.com/news/crime/6-men-arrested-in-md-prostitution-sting (2018)
- https://baltimore.cbslocal.com/six-men-arrested-for-solicitation-of-prostitution-disorderly-conduct/ (2018)
- http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/howard/ph-ho-cf-sting-arrests-0711-story.html (2018)
- https://patch.com/maryland/catonsville/8-md-men-arrested-undercover-prostitution-operation-police (2020)
- Background on Sex Trafficking and Prostitution in the Area:
- “Human Trafficking Uncovered by Truck Stop Call: Police,” Columbia Patch, November 18 2015.
- https://patch.com/jessup-man-charged-human-trafficking-teen (2018)
- https://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2-charged-with-human-trafficking-at-jessup-red-roof-inn/ (2019)