Oneida County, NY

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

Oneida County is located in upstate New York and has a population of approximately 231,000. Its two largest cities are Utica (the county seat) and Rome. Prostitution, sex trafficking, and associated violent crimes are well-documented problems in those cities and in surrounding areas of the county. For example, in 2003, a 16-year-old sex trafficking victim was murdered in Utica. In 2019, a sex buyer in Utica was the victim of an armed robbery and shot and killed the pimp who attempted the robbery. The man was an off-duty police officer who was not charged with homicide and shot in self-defense, but he was charged with the misdemeanor of patronizing a prostitute.

Local law enforcement agencies have conducted reverse stings targeting sex buyers within the county. For example, in May and June 2011, officers from the UPD’s Special Operations Unit posed as prostituted women in areas of the city “known for high levels of prostitution activity.” As men approached the undercover officers and offered cash for sex, they were arrested by a backup team. The individuals’ names, mugshots, and other identifying information were released to the public. In March 2014, six men were arrested in an undercover prostitution operation targeting those attempting to hire a prostituted person; their identities were included in press releases.

Arrests of sex buyers are also made without conducting sting operations. For example, in August 2019, a man and woman were arrested for prostitution at a boat launch in Rome. Officers were dispatched to the boat launch at 4 p.m. in response to a complaint of lewd behavior. They found a vehicle with a 64-year-old man inside, who was later charged with public lewdness and third-degree patronizing of a prostitute. His identity was released to the public.

Key Partners

  • Oneida County District Attorney’s Office
  • Oneida County Jail
  • Utica Police Department
    • Special Operations Unit
  • Utica City Court
    • New York State Police
    • Special Investigation Unit (SIU)

Key Sources

Arrest and Identity Disclosure of Sex Buyers:

Street-Level Reverse Stings and Identity Disclosure:

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 County
Population 231300
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