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Morris County, New Jersey, is located about 50 miles west of New York City, and has a population of about 511,000. The county seat is the city of Morristown, which is surrounded by Morris Township. Prostitution and sex trafficking activity have been well-documented in the communities (e.g., Morris Township, Parsipanny) and unincorporated areas of Morris County. This activity and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates result in complaints to law enforcement agencies from residents and businesses. Among the more serious crimes associated with the local prostitution market is sex trafficking. For example, in May 2019, six people were arrested in an undercover prostitution sting in the town of Hanover. Together with the FBI, police investigated a case of potential human/sex trafficking in a local hotel. Four women were arrested and charged with prostitution, and two men were arrested and charged with promoting prostitution. One suspect was taken to the Morris County Correctional Facility with an upcoming court date, and the other five were released with a summons to appear at future court dates.
Consumer-level demand provides the revenue stream for all prostitution and sex trafficking, and has therefore been targeted by local law enforcement agencies as a strategy for prevention and response. To identify and apprehend local sex buyers driving the prostitution and sex trafficking markets, significant efforts to address underlying demand for prostitution began in 1998. After a seven-month investigation that was initiated because of neighbor’s complaints — including reports that men demanding massages were knocking on residents’ doors — a law enforcement team led by the Morris County Prosecutor’s office raided a local home and determined it to be a brothel. They then arrested and charged four women with prostitution and three men with soliciting prostitution. Once the property had been emptied, detectives then set up a reverse sting operation from within the mansion, and arrested and charged another 12 men with soliciting prostitution. Following their arrests, the men’s names were publicized by some press outlets.
In 2013, an undercover operation in Parsippany resulted in the arrest of seven women for prostitution, two men for soliciting, and another man for promoting prostitution. All of the arrests were made at a hotel on Route 46. Police credited citizen complaints and Crime Stoppers tips for helping them crack down on prostituted women and sex buyers.
Not all sex buyer arrests have been the product of sting operations within the county using decoys. Some are instead the result of alleged offenses against real victims. For example, in February 2022, a man was sentenced to 28 years in state prison after he was convicted of sexually assaulting one woman, admitted to coercing two others to have sex with him, and assaulting a man, all in Morris County in 2018. The offenses happened in September 2018 in Parsippany-Troy Hills and the victim in the case was an adult woman, the office said. In November 2021, the man pleaded guilty to promoting prostitution of two adult women in Roxbury and Hanover and also admitted giving them drugs and coercing them to have sex with him for money at various hotels.
- Morris Township Police Department
- Hanover Police Department
- Parsippany Police Department
- Special Enforcement Unit
Business-Based Reverse Sting, Identity Disclosure:
- “Prostitution Ring Busted in Well-off East Coast Suburb,” Chicago Tribune, August 11 1998.
- “20 Arrested in Raid on Alleged Bordello in N.J.,” Watertown Daily Times, August 12 1998.
- “Alleged Madam Arrested; Charged with Using $1.5-Million New Jersey Home as Brothel,” Newsday, August 12 1998.
- “Cops Say Woman Ran Brothel in Mansion,” Press of Atlantic City, August 12 1998.
- “Hamlet Jolted by Charges that Woman Ran Brothel,” New York Times, August 12 1998.
- “Society Figure Faces Prostitution Charges,” Trenton Times, August 12 1998.
- “Alleged Madam Breaks Silence, Says She Feels Sorry for 15 Male Suspects,” Bergen County Record, August 13 1998.
- “Brothel Case Yields ‘Black Book” Morris Prosecutor Says Computer List of Possible Customers Includes Hundreds of Names,” Newark Star-Ledger, August 13 1998.
- “PC Key to List of Johns; Cops,” New York Daily News, August 14 1998.
- “There’s No Delight in the Thought of 20 Ruined Lives,” Bergen County Record, August 14 1998.
- http://newjersey.news12.com/story/34879720/police-in-parsippany-worry-town-is-becoming-hot-spot-for-prostitution (2013)
Arrest of Sex Buyer, Identity Disclosure:
Background on Sex Trafficking and Prostitution in the Area:
- “‘Mansion Madam’ Pleads Guilty, Gets Probation,” Jersey City Journal, May 12 1999.
- “Prosecutor Seeks Cash from Suspected Prostitution Parlor; $800,000 Forfeiture Action Targets Proceeds from Morris Township Massage Operation,” Newark Star-Ledger, August 22 2006.
- https://www.nj.com/news/local/parsippany_police_arrest_five (2010)
- https://www.facebook.com/ParsippanyPoliceDepartment/arrests-for-theft-prostitution-and-warrant (2014)
- https://www.tapinto.net/towns/teen-girls-used-for-prostitution-in-morris-county (2016)
- https://www.dailyrecord.com//morris-county/parsippany-police-prostitution-embassy-suites-howard-johnson (2016)
- http://parsippanyfocus.com/prostitution-arrest-at-hilton-hotel (2017)
- https://www.nj.com/morris/police_arrest_3_accused_of_prostitution_at_parsipp (2017)
- https://www.nj.com/news/local/parsippany_makes_another_prost (2017)
- https://patch.com/Parsippany/3-women-charged-prostitution-parsippany-police (2017)
- https://www.tapinto.net/towns/east-hanover-slash-florham-park/sections/police-and-fire/articles/morris-county-residents-among-79-arrested-in-mass-1 (2017)
- https://www.northjersey.com/man-found-guilty-trafficking-minors-morris-county-nj-hotels (2019)
- https://patch.com/new-jersey/morristown/6-arrested-morris-co-hotel-prostitution-bust-pd (2019)
- https://www.msn.com/man-sentenced-28-years-sexual-assault-promoting-prostitution (2022)