Oneida County is located in upstate New York, and has a population of about 230,000. Its two largest cities are Utica (the county seat) and Rome. Prostitution, sex trafficking, and associated violent crime 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 apparently shot in self defense, but he was charged with the misdemeanor of patronizing a prostitute.
Local law enforcement agencies have conducted at reverse stings targeting johns 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 made an offer of cash for sex, they were arrested by a backup team. All of 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 people engaging in patronizing prostitutes, and their identitities included in press releases. In August, 2019, a man and woman were arrested for prostitution at the boat launch in Rome. Officers were dispatched to the boat launch at 4 p.m. in response to a complaint of lewd behavior, and they found the vehicle with a 64-year-old that was later charged with public lewdness and third-degree patronizing a prostitute. His identity was publicly released.
- 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)
Arrest and Shaming of Sex Buyers:
- https://romesentinel.com/stories/pair-accused-of-lewdness-prostitution,73586 (2019)
- https://wibx950.com/two-rome-residents-facing-prostitution-charges/ (2019)
- http://rome.staging.communityq.com/stories/pair-accused-of-lewdness-prostitution,73586 (2019)
Street-Level Reverse Stings and Shaming:
- “6 Men Charged in Prostitution Sting”, Utica Observer-Dispatch, May 2 2011.
- “5 Utica Men, Teen Charged in Prostitution Sting”, NBC/WSTM-TV 3, May 3 2011.
- “Six Utica Men Face Prostitution Charges”, WIBX-AM 950, May 3 2011.
- “Former SU Basketball Player Busted in Prostitution Sting”, NBC/WSTM-TV 3, June 16 2011.
- “Prostitution-Related Charges Filed Against 5 Utica, Clinton Men”, Utica Observer-Dispatch, June 16 2011.
- “11 Face Prostitution-Related Charges in Utica”, Utica Observer-Dispatch, March 26 2014.
- https://cnycentral.com/six-men-arrested-on-prostitution-related-charges-in-utica (2014)
- “Utica Police Arrest 7 during Prostitution Sting,” Utica Observer-Dispatch, October 1 2015.
Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:
- “Nine People Arrested in Sex Trafficking Ring”, NBC/WSTM-TV 3, November 28 2012.
- “Officials Discuss Utica Sex Trafficking Ring and Arrests, Believe There Are More Victims”, NBC/WSTM-TV 3, November 30 2012.
- “Police: Teen Victim Coerced into Sex Trafficking Ring Was Forced to Take Drugs”, ABC/WSYR-TV 9, November 30 2012.
- “‘I’m No Sex Offender,’ Man Says in Utica Sex Trafficking Case”, Utica Observer-Dispatch, June 24 2013.
- “3 Face Stiffer Federal Charges in Utica-Based Sex Trafficking Ring”, Utica Observer-Dispatch, July 17 2013.
- “Suspects in Utica Sex Trafficking Ring Now Face Federal Charges”, NBC/WSTM-TV 3, July 17 2013.
- “Feeling ‘Entrapped’, Man Sentenced for Sex with Teen”, Utica Observer-Dispatch, August 27 2013.
- “East Syracuse Man Convicted in 2003 of Killing Utica Prostitute Faces Heroin, Gun Charges”, ABC/WSYR-TV 9, December 4 2013.
- “Man Pleads to Patronizing Prostitute, But Not Sex Crime”, Utica Observer Dispatch, January 16 2014.
- “Utica Woman Pleads Guilty to Sex Trafficking Charge”, Utica Observer-Dispatch, March 13 2014.
- “2nd Utica Woman Pleads Guilty to Child Sex-Trafficking”, Utica Observer-Dispatch, March 28 2014.
- “Utica Woman Charged with Sex Trafficking a Child”, CBS/WBNG-TV 12, March 28 2014.
- “Utica Woman Pleads Guilty to Child Sex Trafficking”, Oneida Daily Dispatch, March 30 2014.
- “Utica Man Pleads Guilty to Sex Trafficking”, Oneida Daily Dispatch, May 24 2014.
Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “Utica Police Chief Has $10,000 in Home; Denies It Is Payment for Vice Protection”, New York Times, February 15 1958.
- “Jury to Decide Fate of Six Men”, Newburgh Evening News, April 12 1961.
- “Police News in Brief”, Utica Observer-Dispatch, February 1 2008.
- “7 Charged in Prostitution Sting”, Utica Observer-Dispatch, March 26 2010.
- “9 Charged in Prostitution Sting”, Utica Observer-Dispatch, April 28 2010.
- “Utica Prostitution Sting Results in Charges for 8 Women”, Utica Observer-Dispatch, July 19 2010.
- “State Police Say Sex Traffickers Forced Girl to Use Cocaine, Heroin before Seeing Clients”, Oneida Daily Dispatch, November 30 2012.
- “Lacking Manpower, Utica Police Dissolve Special Ops Unit”, Utica Observer-Dispatch, October 5 2013.
- “Five Women Arrested on Prostitution-Related Charges”, NBC/WKTV-TV 2, March 26 2014.
- https://cnycentral.com/news/local/undercover-operation-leads-to-prostitution-charges-for-4-women-in-utica (2017)
Documented Violence against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:
- “East Syracuse Man Convicted in 2003 of Killing a Utica Prostitute Faces Heroin, Gun Charges”, ABC/WSYR-TV 9, December 4 2013.
- https://romesentinel.com/stories/police-off-duty-officer-who-shot-killed-man-was-in-utica-soliciting-sex (2019)
- https://www.timesunion.com/news/article/Woman-arrested-in-connection-shooting-that-13724415.php (2019)