New Castle County, Delaware has a population of roughly 539,000 residents. Its largest communities are Newark and Wilmington. Prostitution and sex trafficking activity have been well-documented in New Castle County. For example, a 2012 investigation resulted in the arrest of a man who prostituted a 15-year-old girl at numerous hotels throughout New Castle County. The county also served as the operating base for a serial murderer who specifically targeted prostituted women in the 1980s.
In addition to conducting city-level reverse stings in the county communities of Wilmington Manor and New Castle, the New Castle County Police Department instituted a formal shaming policy in 2005. Although public release of arrestee identities was first seen in reports of 1989 arrests, in 2005 the New Castle County Police Department launched a website that featured the names and photographs of the 10 people (both buyers and sellers) most recently convicted of prostitution and related charges. The page also listed the charges, date of conviction, date of offense and community where the offense occurred. Police officials said they hoped the public nature of the Prostitution Conviction Page would serve as a deterrent to others who might otherwise commit the same crimes.
In June 2018 seven men were taken into custody after they solicited undercover New Castle County Police officers for sex. The women were posted in the Alban Park area to act as prostituted persons as patrol officers and detectives surveyed the neighborhood. Those who drove to the area had their vehicles towed by police, and all seven men were issued a criminal summons, then released. The men’s names and other identifying information were included in news releases. In January 2019, a web-based reverse sting apprehended 16 sex buyers in New Castle County .
New Castle County Police Department
- Delaware State Police
- https://www.delawareonline.com/story/news/crime/2018/06/28/seven-men-arrested-after-soliciting-sex-officers-prostitution-sting (2018)
Web-Based Reverse Stings:
- https://www.delawareonline.com//2019/01/23/42-arrested-multi-agency-new-castle-county-prostitution-operation (2019)
- “Prostitution Offenders to Go Public; NCCo Police Web Site Posts Names, Photos of Those Convicted,” Wilmington News Journal, September 27 2005.
- “ACLU Objects to Posting Photos of Those Convicted of Prostitution,” CBS/WBOC-TV 16, September 30 2005.
- https://www.delawareonline.com/seven-men-arrested-after-soliciting-sex-officers-prostitution-sting (2018)
Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:
- “South Jersey Man Indicted in Delaware on Sex Trafficking Child Pornography Charges,” Press Release, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Delaware, February 17 2012.
- “South Jersey Man Pleads Guilty in Delaware to Sex Trafficking of Minor and Firearms Charges,” Press Release, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Delaware, July 18 2012.
Background on Prostitution in the Area:
Documented Violence against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:
- “Electrician Convicted of Mutilation Murders,” Sumter Item, November 24 1989.
- “Catch,” Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, June 13 1997.
- “Route 40 Killer Remains an Enigma after Being Convicted 25 Years Ago,” Delaware Today, November 2014.
- “Steven Pennell: A Mystery Man 25 Years Later,” Newsworks, November 7 2014.