Johnston, RI

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

Johnston is a town in Rhode Island with a population of about 29,000, located just west of Providence. Prostitution and sex trafficking activity have been reported in the town for several years; cases of prostitution-related homicide have also been documented.

Among their efforts to reduce commercial sex sales in the community, the Johnston Police Department has conducted periodic reverse stings targeting johns since at least 2000, if not earlier. Although the logistical details of these operations are not typically disclosed, Johnston Police have on occasion released arrestees’ names and other identifying information to the public.

Employment loss is another consequence of buying sex that has occurred in the city.  For example, in August, 2021, a Johnston police officer was suspended without pay after his arrest in a child sex trafficking sting conducted in Rockland, MA.  The 13-year member of the Johnston Police Department was arrested and charged with trafficking a person for sexual servitude after police allege he agreed to pay an undercover officer posing as an “escort” $100 for a ”quick visit,” a term used in the commercial sex industry to describe a date that is less than half an hour. According to a police report, the officer had responded to an advertisement for sex posted online by police, telling the undercover officer that he wanted “to do everything” and asking if she was working for herself.

Key Partners

  • Rhode Island State Police
  • Providence State Police
  • U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Key Sources

Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

  • “Five Arrested at Motel on Charges Tied to Prostitution,” Providence Journal, April 26 2000.
  • “Johnston Police Arrest Five on Prostitution Counts,” Providence Journal, April 26 2000.
  • “Crime – 14 Nabbed for Prostitution under New Law,” Providence Journal, December 12 2009.

Sex Buyer Identity Disclosure:

Sex Trafficking in the Area:

  • “Man Charged with Pandering of Daughter, 24,” Providence Journal, August 12 1999.

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

Documented Violence Against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:

  • “Police Checking for Possible Link in the Slayings of Three Women; Strangulation Victims Found in Northern R.I. in Past Four Months,” Providence Journal, March 22 1991.
  • “Police Identify Slaying Victim; Will Examine Parallels to Killings of 3 Women Linked to Prostitution,” Providence Journal, August 4 1991.
State Rhode Island
Type City
Population 29322
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