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Manchester is a city with over 110,000 residents, located in south-central New Hampshire. Prostitution and sex trafficking are known to occur in the city, and in some cases, are linked to regional and international sex trafficking operations. For example, in 2018 a couple was arrested and charged with sex trafficking and other offenses; in June, 2021 the woman defendant pleaded guilty to running a sex trafficking operation throughout northern New England through which she and her husband persuaded more than two dozen women living in China and the U.S. to be exploited in prostitution. She had been charged with an array of offenses including sex trafficking by fraud or coercion, and transportation for purposes of prostitution at her sentencing. The woman and her husband, both Concord residents, in 2016 set up a prostitution ring using rented houses and motels in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, according to court documents. Many of the women recruited came to the United States on B-2 non-immigrant visas that allow foreigners entry for pleasure, tourism or medical treatment but not to take legitimate jobs. The Associated Press reported at the time of her arrest that 27 women had been convinced to “work as prostitutes” with the promise of earning thousands of dollars. The couple rented houses in Portland, ME and Manchester, NH for periods in 2016, and the trafficked women were moved from motel to motel every few days. The prostitution ring advertised on internet sites, including Backpage.com. The women had been recruited through fraud and exploitation of vulnerabilities: they had been promised work outside of prostitution but weren’t able to find such jobs, many owed debts for their travel to the U.S, they spoke very little English, and they had no contacts in Maine, New Hampshire or Vermont. The woman pleaded guilty to conspiracy and four counts of transportation for purposes of prostitution. In exchange for her pleas, the U.S. Attorney’s office dismissed two counts of sex trafficking by fraud or coercion and one count of transportation for purposes of prostitution.
Law enforcement agencies and others have targeted demand as a means of addressing the wide range of crimes and problems arising from the local commercial sex trade. Manchester police began conducting reverse stings at least as early as 1991, and has conducted them occasionally since. A survey completed by the Manchester Police Department in 2009 for the National Assessment indicated that they conduct about 12 reverse stings per year. Identities of arrested sex buyers are routinely publicized by police. The courts have the discretion to impose SOAP orders on arrestees as well.
Reverse stings have at times been conducted routinely in Manchester. In 2007-2009 (and perhaps a broader range of years), Weed and Seed program funds were used to partially fund reverse stings – making them more frequent, and allowing them to deploy two or three decoys rather than just one team. In February 2015, MPD officers staged a street-level reversal that resulted in the arrests of four male sex buyers. Following their arrests, the men’s identities were publicized by local media outlets. A reverse sting was conducted in September 2017 near the Enright Park area of the city after residents complained to police about prostitution. “Operation Breakfast Club” resulted in the arrest of six male sex buyers, all of whom were charged with prostitution-related offenses and released on $500 bail. The names, ages, and hometowns of all arrestees were released to news outlets. In October, 2018 Manchester police arrested six men on prostitution-related charges during a daylight operation around Enright Park in the city center. The operation was prompted by complaints from area neighbors, and the names and photos of the arrestees were publicly released. In January 2019, five men were arrested during a prostitution sweep in the center city, in the area between Beach and Lincoln streets and Manchester and Laurel streets. Five men faced prostitution and related charges after soliciting sex from a plainclothes detective in exchange for money. All five men were released on personal recognizance and were scheduled to appear the following month in Manchester Circuit Court. In April 2019, another reverse sting resulted in the arrest of eight sex buyers.
Neighborhood initiatives were launched in 2010 to address prostitution and its associated problems. Residents began recording license plate numbers of men who appeared to be engaged in buying sex, and forwarding this information to police.
Loss of employment is another consequence of buying sex that has occurred within the county. For example, in April, 2015, the vice chairman of the Manchester School Board resigned after he was arrested during a prostitution sting in Nashua.
- Manchester Police Department
- Manchester Weed and Seed Program
National Assessment Survey
Street-Level Reverse Stings and Identity Disclosure:
- “Prostitute Law Has Flaw”, Lewiston Sun Journal, August 25 1992.
- “Manchester Plans New Push on ‘Johns'”, Boston Globe, January 3 1993.
- “Weed and Seed Strategy”, Monthly Report Summary, Manchester Health Department, January 2007.
- “Manchester Police Hook ‘Johns’ Trolling Prostitutes”, New Hampshire Union Leader, May 12 2008.
- “New Chief Warns Would-Be Clients that Stings Will Continue”, New Hampshire Union Leader, May 12 2008.
- “Four Men Arrested for Solicitation of Prostitution Arraigned”, New Hampshire Union Leader, July 21 2012.
- “Seven Men Arrested in Manchester Prostitution Sting”, New Hampshire Union Leader, July 30 2012.
- “Three Men Arrested Soliciting for Sex”, New Hampshire Union Leader, August 28 2012.
- “Manchester Police Say They’re Cracking down on Prostitution,” ABC/WMUR-TV 9, February 6 2015.
- “6 Arrested in Prostitution Sting; The Arrests Were Made on Friday in Manchester, New Hampshire,” NBC/NECN-TV, February 9 2015.
- “Five Prostitution-Related Arrests in Manchester Sting,” New Hampshire Union Leader, July 2 2015.
- “Manchester Police Arrest 8 in Prostitution Sting.” MyChaplainValley.com, September 19, 2017.
- “Danville man among eight arrested in Manchester prostitution sting.” Eagle Tribune, September 19, 2017
- http://www.unionleader.com/20181005/NEWS03 (2018)
- https://www.unionleader.com/news/six-swept-up-in-manchester-prostitution-crackdown (2019)
- https://www.unionleader.com/news/eight-arrested-in-good-friday-prostitution-sweep-in-manchester (2019)
- https://www.necn.com/news/new-england/Prostitution-Sting-Manchester-New-Hampshire-8-Arrested (2019)
- https://patch.com/new-hampshire/merrimack/manchester-police-arrest-8-prostitution-charges (2019)
Web-Based Reverse Stings:
Auto Seizure – Legislative Proposal 1993:
- “Editorial: Manchester’s Prostitution ‘Solution’ Erodes Constitutional Safeguards”, Manchester Telegraph, January 24 1993.
- “Manchester Residents Take Steps to Clean Up Their Neighborhood”, Manchester Telegraph, June 24 1991.
Sex Buyer Fired or Resigned Due to Arrest:
Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:
- “Manchester Police Arrest Boston Man in Prostitution Ring”, ABC/WMUR-TV 9, March 13 2009.
- “Woman Charged with Pimping Teen Recruited at Occupy NH Rally”, New Hampshire Union Leader, October 28 2011.
- “Pair Accused of Sex Trafficking, Promoting Prostitution Arrested in NH”, FOX/WFXT-TV 25, September 9 2013.
- “Sex Trafficking Suspect: ‘I’ve Never Been to Hampton’,” Portsmouth Herald, October 31 2014.
- “Two Accused of Trafficking Women in Hooksett, Hampton and Manchester,” New Hampshire Union Leader, October 31 2014.
- “Two Charged with Human Trafficking in Hampton, N.H.; The Men Are Accused of Bringing Young Women into the Area to Work as Prostitutes,” Portland Press Herald, October 31 2014.
- “Manchester Man Convicted in Teen Prostitution, Drug Case,” New Hampshire Union Leader, June 17 2015.
- “Police to Highlight Human Trafficking Investigations,” New Hampshire Union Leader, August 22 2016.
- http://www.unionleader.com/crime/Police-Human-trafficking-on-the-rise-in-New-Hampshire (2018)
- https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/new-hampshire-man-sentenced-21-years-prison-sex-trafficking-minor-and-other-crimes (2021)
- https://bangordailynews.com/nh-woman-pleads-guilty-to-running-prostitution-ring-that-brought-27-women-to-new-england/ (2021)
Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “Manchester Neighborhood Fights Prostitution”, New Hampshire Union Leader, May 7 2007.
- “Manchester Residents Complain of Prostitution Problem”, ABC/WMUR-TV 9, May 8 2007.
- “Sex Assault Charge Dropped; Prostitution Charged”, New Hampshire Union Leader, August 30 2011.