Rehoboth Beach, DE

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

Rehoboth Beach is a city of about 1,000 residents, located along the Delaware Coast. As a coastal tourist destination, the local population swells dramatically during the summer months. Although reports of street prostitution appear limited, residents and law enforcement have noted problems with prostitution occurring within local massage parlors.

To curtail this activity, Delaware State Police have on at least two occasions conducted stings at Rehoboth massage parlors since 2011. Most recently, in December 2014, police raided two parlors after receiving tips about prostitution occurring within the businesses. During the investigation, undercover officers entered the businesses posing as potential sex buyers. After detectives were offered sexual acts by female employees, they “refused the service and returned with warrants,” arresting three prostituted women in the process. Five sex buyers were also intercepted during the sting. Each was “issued a criminal summons for patronizing a prostitute or requesting sexual contact for a fee.”

Although the logistical details of their arrests (i.e., whether or not traditional reverse stings tactics such as a female police decoy were used) were not made public, all of the men’s names, ages, and hometowns were publicized in local media outlets. One such paper, the Cape Gazette, asked a representative with the State Police why the sex buyers’ mugshots were not released. The officer clarified that “there are no photos of the men because police do not take photos [of suspects] for a summons.”

Key Partners

  • Delaware State Police
    • Sussex Drug Task Force
    • Sussex Governor’s Task Force
    • Troop 4 Major Crimes Unit
  • Delaware Department of State’s Division of Professional Regulation
  • Delaware Department of Justice
  • U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations

Key Sources

Brothel Busts Resulting in Sex Buyer Arrests with Identity Disclosure:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

State Delaware
Type City
Population 1151
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