Newark, NJ

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

Newark is the largest city in New Jersey, with a population of approximately 307,000. It serves as the government seat of Essex County. The city has documented problems related to prostitution spanning several decades (including documented cases of the sex trafficking of both adults and minors, and targeted homicides of prostituted and trafficked persons) and generates frequent complaints to police from residents and businesses. Some local sex trafficking cases have also involved child sexual abuse materials (CSAM, often called “child pornography” in state laws). For example, in August 2022, a former caseworker for the New Jersey Department of Children and Family Services was indicted on federal charges including possession and transportation of “child pornography,” (CSAM) and attempted sex trafficking of a minor. Following a trip to the Dominican Republic, law enforcement officials at Newark Liberty International Airport searched the man’s phone and found, “at least” two images of child sexual abuse material. An investigation also found that, from June 19 2021, to Sept. 29 2021, the man attempted to solicit a minor for prostitution.

In an effort to combat such crimes, the Newark Police Department has conducted street-level reverse stings, since 1990, in an attempt to reduce consumer-level demand. The identities of arrested sex buyers, as well as those of individuals arrested for selling sex, are posted on the NPD’s website. Since 2007, NPD officers have seized cars and performed a background check on those arrested while soliciting from a vehicle.

Among their relatively recent efforts, NPD officers staged three street-level stings, targeting sex buyers in February and March 2016. According to the Newark Star-Ledger, officers intercepted 26 sex buyers after the men solicited “police officers posing as prostitutes” in three separate operations. Arrestees had their cars seized and towed, and their identities were released to the public. At least two of the three investigations were prompted by complaints from local residents of prostitution in the area where the stings were staged, Star-Ledger staff reported. When asked about the operations in February, a NPD representative told the press:

“This type of behavior won’t be tolerated. [We] will continue to respond to such complaints and target the types of activities that denigrate the quality of life in our communities.”  

In May 2019, more than a dozen men were arrested in a reverse sting in response to neighbors complaining about the activity on Sherman Avenue between Clifton Street and East Bigelow Avenue, in the South Ward area of Newark. In April 2021, 10 sex buyers were arrested in this same South Ward area, and their mug shots and identifiers were included in press releases.

Key Partners

  • Newark Police Department

Key Sources

Brothel Raids Resulting in Sex Buyer Arrests:

  • “Newark Prostitution Raid Nets 6 Women, 12 Men”, Newark Star-Ledger, April 27 1993.

Other Sex Buyer Arrests, Identity Disclosure:

Street-Level Reverse Stings:

Identity Disclosure:

Auto Seizure:

Neighborhood Action:

  • “Newark Council Targets Hookers”, Newark Star-Ledger, May 10 1995.

Background on Local Sex Trafficking, Child Sexual Exploitation, CSAM:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

Documented Violence Against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:

  • “Police and Prostitutes– Partners in Solving Crime; Streetwalkers Are Eyes and Ears of Authorities in Effort to Solve Murders of 14 Other Women”, Newark Star-Ledger, August 30 1998.
  • “Newark Murder Victim Added to List of County’s Unsolved Prostitute Cases”, Newark Star-Ledger, October 14 1998.
  • “Slay Victim Added to List of Unsolved Prostitute Cases”, Newark Star-Ledger, October 14 1998.
State New Jersey
Type City
Population 307220
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