Martins Ferry, OH

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

Martins Ferry is a city of approximately 6,200 residents in Belmont County, Ohio, directly across the Ohio River from Wheeling, West Virginia. It is the largest city in Belmont County. Prostitution and sex trafficking have been well-documented problems in the city and surrounding Belmont County and the Wheeling metro region for years. For example, in June 2015, a months-long investigation resulted in 14 people arrested and charged in connection to a prostitution sting in Belmont County. Eleven women were found to be engaged in prostitution by undercover authorities in a first-of-its-kind operation by Belmont County’s Major Crimes Task Force. An additional three men were arrested and faced various criminal charges, from allowing a residence to be used for sex for hire to promoting prostitution and soliciting another for sexual activity for hire. Police said that a “rampant increase in prostitution” prompted the operation, as well as concern about the issue of human trafficking and prostitution’s associated crimes like drug abuse and violence.

In response to a survey conducted in 2021 by the NCOSE team for a National Institute of Justice grant to update and expand Demand Forum (Grant #2020-75-CX-0011), representatives from the Martins Ferry Police Department reported that they have also implemented the following tactics: street-level reverse stings, web-based stings, identity disclosure (all beginning 2020), and “Dear John” letters.

Key Partners

  • Martins Ferry Police Department
  • Belmont County Major Crimes Task Force

Key Sources

2021 National Assessment II Survey

Sex Buyer Arrest, Identity Disclosure:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

Local Prostitution Ordinances:

State Ohio
Type City
Population 6128
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