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Portsmouth is a city of about 95,000 residents, located in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia, near Norfolk, Chesapeake, Virginia Beach and Newport News. It is an independent city and not part of any county. Prostitution activity has been reported in the area for decades. For example, in July, 2021, five people were in custody after allegedly being involved in prostitution. The Portsmouth Police Department said its special investigation division has been working on an operation geared towards stopping prostitution in the areas of Prentis Park and Cradock. Four women were arrested and charged with Prostitution, and a man was arrested for contributing to illegal commercial sex and was charged with “Keeping or Frequenting a Bawdy Residence” (i.e., a brothel). In addition to such routine prostitution cases, prostitution-related homicide has also been documented locally. In their efforts to reduce the size and scope of the city’s commercial sex market, the Portsmouth Police Department has conducted periodic reverse stings targeting sex buyers since at least 2000. Operations are typically conducted at street level, using one or more female undercover officers as decoys. Once arrested, sex buyers often have their names and other identifying information publicized by local media outlets.
- Portsmouth Police Department
Street-Level Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:
- “27 Adults, Two Juveniles Charged in Portsmouth Prostitution Sting,” Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, May 18 2000.
- “Portsmouth Prostitution Sting Nabs 17,” Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, June 14 2000.
- “Four Arrested in Portsmouth Prostitution Bust,” CBS/WTKR-TV 3, August 29 2013.
Background on Prostitution, Sex Trafficking in the Area:
- “Police Charge 30 in Prostitution Sting Operation,” Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, September 18 2004.
- “Sweeps Bring Arrests of 6 on Prostitution Charges,” ABC/WVEC-TV 13, February 11 2009.
- “4 Charged in Prostitution Sting in Portsmouth,” ABC/WVEC-TV 13, August 15 2009.
- “6 Charged in Portsmouth Prostitution Operation,” ABC/WVEC-TV 13, September 18 2009.
- “6 Arrested during Prostitution Crackdown in Portsmouth,” ABC/WVEC-TV 13, May 10 2010.
- “Portsmouth Police Conduct Operation Targeting Prostitutes,” ABC/WVEC-TV 13, December 6 2011.
- “4 Charged in Portsmouth Prostitution Operation,” ABC/WVEC-TV 13, February 29 2012.
- “Portsmouth Police Make Arrests in Prostitution Operation,” ABC/WVEC-TV 13, September 10 2012.
- “Four Arrested in Portsmouth Prostitution Sting,” ABC/WVEC-TV 13, October 4 2013.
- https://www.13newsnow.com/four-women-man-arrested-prostitution-portsmouth (2021)
- https://www.13newsnow.com/portsmouth-man-convicted-sex-trafficking (2023)
- https://www.13newsnow.com/doj-convicts-portsmouth-man-of-sex-trafficking-child-pornography (2023)
Documented Violence Against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:
- “The Mystery of Katrina; Prostitute’s Death, Path in Life an Enigma,” Newport News Daily Press, May 4 2003.
- “Police Make Arrest in Strangling; Roanoke Truck Driver Charged in Woman’s Death,” Newport News Daily Press, December 13 2003.
- “Murder Case against Fort Eustis Man Goes to Grand Jury,” Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, May 27 2004.
- “Roanoke Man Convicted in Girl’s Death,” Newport News Daily Press, April 7 2005.
- “Man Gets 10-Year Prison Sentence for Strangling a Woman in 2003,” Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, October 26 2005.