Prince William County, VA

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

Prince William County is located along the Potomac River in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and has an approximate population of 467, 000.   It is classified as part of the Washington DC Metropolitan Area. Prostitution activity has been well-documented in the city and surrounding communities, and in unincorporated areas of the county. This activity and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates results in complaints to law enforcement agencies from residents and businesses. Among the more serious crimes associated with the local commercial sex market is sex trafficking. For example, in 2018, a Virginia husband and wife pleaded guilty in federal court to their roles in operating a long-running interstate prostitution ring. The Haymarket residents each pleaded guilty in separate hearings to one count of conspiracy to persuade, induce, entice, or coerce individuals to travel in interstate commerce to engage in prostitution, and one count of conspiracy to engage in money laundering. Their co-conspirators previously pleaded guilty to the same charges. From at least 2013 until March 2018 when they were arrested, the defendants operated an interstate prostitution network with multiple brothels in high-end apartments, and advertised appointments with Asian women primarily on three websites:,, and The women advertised on the websites were moved from city to city within the network, at the trafficker’s direction, providing paid sex. Co-conspirators collected the cash earnings from the women exploited in the brothels and funneled the money into accounts controlled by them.  Prostitution-related violence also occurs locally.  For example, in July, 2022, two women were arrested in a violent hotel robbery of two men in Prince William County. Their charges included prostitution and robbery. In response to concerns about these and many other related types of crime, several investigations were conducted by partnering law enforcement agencies, and arrests have been made for local sex trafficking of minors, sex trafficking, and prostitution.  For example, in 2016 Prince William County Police arrested seven men after running an internet sting operation targeting individuals seeking to buy sex with minors. Detectives posed as juveniles on social media, and the men who were arrested solicited sex acts and agreed to meet the undercover detective at a location in Prince William County.  They faced charges including solicitation of prostitution and using a communication device to facilitate an offense against a child.

Demand-reduction tactics have been used within the county to try to interrupt the revenue stream that motivates all sex trafficking – the money paid by consumers of commercial sex.  For example, in August, 2019, detectives from the Prince William County Police, Special Investigations Bureau conducted a Commercial Sex Operation at a hotel in the Manassas area of the county. The objective of the operation was aimed to combat the illicit demand and solicitation of commercial sex services which has a direct connection to human trafficking. During the course of the operation, undercover detectives created online advertisements designed to solicit commercial sex that led to the contact of numerous suspects by phone and through social media. As a result, multiple suspects were identified and charged with offenses relating to the solicitation of commercial sex. The individuals arrested were identified in the news release, as were their charges in connection to offenses including solicitation of prostitution and frequenting a bawdy place. The code of Virginia defines a “bawdy place” as any place within or outside any building or structure that is used or is to be used for lewdness, assignation, or prostitution.

In the August 2019 press release, the Prince William County Police Department stated that it remains committed to the fight against human trafficking, and that anyone who solicits commercial sex plays a fundamental role in human sex trafficking by contributing to the need fulfill the demand for such activities. The Department, in conjunction with its community partners, recognizes that those who solicit commercial sex play an equal role in creating a marketplace that thrives on sexual abuse, violence, and child exploitation. In addition to enforcement, the Police Department seeks to continue community education efforts and awareness campaigns through our partnerships with federal, state, and local agencies. The Police Department has conducted training at area hotels, local churches and hospitals, and other County agencies. Before the end of 2019, the Police Department planned to partner with the Blue Campaign to continue the educational objective at other hotels in Prince William County. The Blue Campaign is a national public awareness campaign, designed to educate the public, law enforcement and other industry partners to recognize the indicators of human trafficking, and how to appropriately respond to possible cases.

Key Partners

  • Prince William County Police Department
  • Homeland Security Investigations
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Customs & Border Protection
  • Transnational Gang Unit of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s
  • Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force
State Virginia
Type County
Population 466834
Comments are closed.