Marlborough, MA

Tactics Used

Reverse stings
Auto seizure
Community service
Public education
Neighborhood action
SOAP orders
John school
Web stings
License suspension

Marlborough is a city in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, with approximately 40,000 residents.  It is located near Worcester and 25 miles west of Boston. Prostitution and sex trafficking activity have been well-documented in the city and surrounding communities.  This activity and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates results in complaints to law enforcement agencies from residents and businesses.

To combat prostitution and sex trafficking in the area, local law enforcement agencies have targeted consumer-level demand for commercial sex, which provides the revenue stream driving all commercial sex and trafficking. In July, 2018 eight men were arrested by police conducting a web-based reverse sting in Marlborough. Police posted an advertisement on a website and when a potential sex buyer called, a female officer would answer and pose as a woman engaged in prostitution. After they negotiated a price, the johns would be directed to a local hotel to meet, which they declined to name. The buyer who arrived and brought the agreed upon amount of money to the arranged meeting at the hotel were greeted by officers and arrested. All eight men were arraigned in Marlborough District Court, were charged with sexual conduct for a fee, and had subsequent court appearance scheduled on various dates. The identities of the sex buyers were included in  news releases.  The operation was conducted by the Marlborough Police Department and the Massachusetts State Police’s High Risk Victim Unit. The state police have conducted similar stings throughout the state, and had contacted the Marlborough Police about taking part in this operation.


Key Partners

  • Marlborough Police Department
  • Massachusetts State Police
    • High Risk Victim Unit

Key Sources

Web-Based Reverse Sting, Shaming:

Background on Local Prostitution and Sex Trafficking:

  • (2017)
  • (2017)
  • (2018)
State Massachusetts
Type City
Population 39500
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