Ocean City, MD
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Ocean City is a community of approximately 7,000 residents, located on the Maryland coast. Prostitution, sex trafficking, and related crimes have been well documented in the city for years. A county wide operation in 2015 produced the arrest of 21 people for a range of related crimes, including soliciting children for prostitution, assault, and “child pornography” offenses (i.e., CSAM, child sexual abuse materials). In 2017, Ocean City Police noted that the rise of opioid use in the area has produced a corresponding increase in prostitution as a way to support addictions.
Among the tactics used to address prostitution and sex trafficking have been those targeting consumer-level demand. For example, in March 2018, five suspects were arrested for soliciting prostitution during a web-based reverse sting by Ocean City Police Department (OCPD). OCPD narcotics and vice unit detectives set up an investigation into prostitution and human trafficking on Backpage.com and Craigslist.org. Police posted an advertisement for sexual services under the heading “Get Lucky” and received numerous responses. In five cases, suspects called the cell phone listed and made arrangements for sex at predetermined prices. In each case, OCPD detectives acting as females offering various services made arrangements with the sex buyers to meet at various hotels. When the suspects arrived at the appointed places and times, they were each arrested for prostitution. The names, ages, and photos of the arrestees were released to the media.
- Ocean City Police Department
Web-Based Reverse Sting, Identity Disclosure:
- OCPD Nabs Four Johns In ‘Get Lucky’ Sting.” Maryland Coast Dispatch, March 21, 2018.
- https://www.oceancitytoday.net/ocpd-take-five-in-online-prostitution-sting/ (2015)
Background on Local Sex Trafficking, Prostitution:
- https://mdcoastdispatch.com/year-long-safety-net-probe-results-in-21-arrests-investigation-finds-terrible-presence-online/ (2015)
- https://www.oceancitytoday.com/undercover-police-link-resort-prostitution-to-drug-addiction/ (2017)
- https://www.oceancitytoday.com/ocean-city-police-arrest-one-in-human-trafficking-operation (2022)
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