Ocean County, 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

Ocean County is a county located along the Jersey Shore in the south-central portion of New Jersey, along the Atlantic Ocean. Its county seat is Toms River.  Ocean County has a population of approximately 602,000. Prostitution and sex trafficking are well-documented throughout the communities and unincorporated areas of the county, and generate numerous associated crimes, such as the assault and homicide of prostituted persons, as well as drug trafficking offenses. For example, in April, 2021, Ocean County authorities announced that a man and woman (a married couple) from Toms River were each charged with Promoting Prostitution in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:34-1b(2), as well as and two counts of Money Laundering in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:21-25. A year-long investigation conducted by the revealed that a business known as a spa located on Lakewood Road in Toms River was owned and operated by the couple and appeared to be operating as a legitimate business, but individuals patronizing the spa were offered sex in exchange for money.  Detectives executed court-authorized search warrants on the spa and the couple’s residence in Toms River and court-authorized seizure orders on bank accounts held by the couple, and they were each charged. In addition to prostitution operations are serious violent crimes associated with the local sex trade, including homicide and setting up sex buyers for robbery. In September, 2020, a federal arrest warrant was issued for a man in the United States District Court. He was wanted by the FBI for allegedly running a prostitution operation that spanned across several states including New Jersey, and including Ocean County. He was charged with Sex Trafficking by Force, Fraud, or Coercion; Conspiracy to Transport an Individual in Interstate Commerce to Engage in Prostitution; and Interstate Transportation for Prostitution.

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. Several cities within the county have conducted demand reduction activities, and county agencies have supported demand reduction activities in multiple communities.  For example, the Jackson Township Police Department have conducted an anti-prostitution investigation in September 2013 that resulted in multiple sex buyer arrests, and the cases have been handed by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office. Lakehurst police received an anonymous tip suggesting that employees at one of the borough’s massage parlors were engaging in acts of prostitution. Officers began an investigation that culminated in the arrest of seven male sex buyers. Police released their names and other identifying information to the local media.

Key Partners

Key Sources

Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

Background on Local Prostitution, Sex Trafficking, Related Crimes:

Documented Prostitution-Related Violence:

State New Jersey
Type County
Population 602018
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