Newburgh, NY

Tactics Used

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

Newburgh is a city of approximately 29,000 residents, located 60 miles north of New York City near Poughkeepsie in Orange County, New York. Street prostitution and sex trafficking have posed significant problems for the city for at least four decades. Among the more serious problems was the murder of a prostituted woman, and sex trafficking of children.  To address such issues, the City of Newburgh Police Department began conducting frequent anti-prostitution stings in the mid-1970s. Early stings often employed both male and female undercover officers, who worked in tandem as decoy johns and prostituted women. As individuals approached the decoys and offered to buy or sell commercial sex to/from the officers, they were arrested by police.

Anti-prostitution operations continue to occur on a routine basis. For example, in December 2018, four men were arrested during a prostitution sting conducted in response to complaints from residents of prostitution taking place throughout the area. The operation was conducted by officers with the City of Newburgh Police Department and the Orange County District Attorney’s Office Task Force.  The identities of the arrested sex buyers were publicly disclosed.

Since at least May 1981, Newburgh Police have used shaming tactics to deter johns. In an article posted in the Newburgh Evening News, members of media supported this decision, noting that “for too long, only women were identified in prostitution arrests while men accused in these cases remained anonymous.”

In 2004, the city started a john school program.  Attendance is mandatory for all arrestees charged with patronizing a prostituted woman.

Key Sources

Reverse Stings:


Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

Documented Violence against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:

State New York
Type City
Population 28201
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