Rensselear County, NY

Tactics Used

Reverse stings
Auto seizure
Community service
Public education
Neighborhood action
SOAP orders
John school
Web stings
License suspension
Rensselaer County, NY has a population of about 160,000, and is located in the Albany area.  Its county seat is Troy, a city of about 50,000.  Periodic reverse stings have been conducted within the county since at least 1997, and possibly before.  In a 1999 reverse sting in Troy, the decoys used for a street operation were female New York State Troopers.  The names, ages, and hometowns of arrestees were released to news outlets, and at least one vehicle was seized for potential forfeiture.  Subsequent reverse stings in Troy have also involved collaborations with the New York State Police, and identities and addresses of arrestees have been publicized.
In October 2012, an operation in Rensselaer county resulted in the arrest of a man on federal child-sex trafficking charges after FBI agents allege he arranged with a madam to have sex with a 12-year-old girl. He was arrested when he showed up at a Rensselaer County motel carrying $500, condoms and a lubricant, in a meeting he had arranged to buy sex with the child.  A federal complaint alleged the man had arranged to pay the cash to an unidentified madam who was recording some of their conversations. Federal law enforcement authorities alleged he had previously solicited sex from a female adult prostitute and during that encounter inquired if she could help him find a “younger” prostitute. That woman put the man in contact with the madam, who contacted law enforcement authorities after learning that the man was seeking sex with children. FBI agents then recorded conversations between the madam and the defendant, who sought to have intercourse with a 12-year-old girl.  He could face up to life in prison and a mandatory minimum of 15 years in prison if convicted.

In August 2018, five men were arrested for Patronizing a Prostitute during a web-based prostitution sting in Troy, with undercover investigators utilizing websites and/or social media platforms to arrange meetings at locations within the town.


Key Partners

  • FBI
  • U.S. District Court
  • Troy Police Department
  • New York State Police
  • Rensselaer County District Attorney’s Office
  • Colonie Police Department

Key Sources

  • Web-Based Reverse Stings, Shaming:
  • Auto Seizure:
    • “Troy Cops Pledge to Continue Car Seizure”, Albany Times Union, June 11 1999.
    • “Guilty Plea Puts Johns Back Behind the Wheel”, Albany Times Union, June 12 1999.
    • “Police Find Seizing Cars the Easiest Part”, Albany Times Union, June 13 1999.
    • “Seizure Laws Put Johns on Alert”, Albany Times Union, July 4 1999.
    • “Taking Johns’ Cars Not Easy”, Albany Times Union, February 19 2003.
  • Sex Trafficking in the Area:
  • Background on Prostitution in the Area:
    • “Troy Police Are Vowing a Crackdown on Prostitution; Our Opinion: Rigid Enforcement Will Help Curb Drug Crime and the Risk of AIDS”, Albany Times Union, May 11 1994.
    • “Prostitution Raid Comes Up More or Less Empty in Troy”, Albany Times Union, September 21 1996.
    • “35 Arrested in Police Sweep”, Albany Times Union, July 25 2003.
    • “Police Sweep Wraps Up”, Albany Times Union, May 5 2004.
    • “Troy Prostitution Bust”, Time Warner Cable News, February 1 2008.
    • “Cloud 9 Closed after Police Raid”, Troy Record, February 2 2008.
    • “Police Raid Club in Troy, Code Violations Found; Prostitution Charged”, Albany Times Union, February 2 2008.
    • “Street Crimes Unit Accuses Area Woman of Prostitution”, Troy Record, July 6 2008.
    • “Woman Charged with Prostitution”, Troy Record, August 18 2008.
    • “Four Arrested in Prostitution Sting in Troy”, Troy Record, February 28 2009.
  • Documented Violence against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:
    • “Troy Man Arrested in Hatchet Attack”, Albany Times Union, November 20 1990.
    • “Prostitute Slain in Troy’s Riverfront Park”, Albany Times Union, July 22 1993.
    • “Troy Cops Determined to Find Prostitute’s Killer”, Albany Times Union, July 23 1993.
    • “Police Study Rape, Assault Reports in Search for Prostitute’s Killer”, Albany Times Union, July 27 1993.
    • “Man Held in Slaying of Troy Prostitute”, Albany Times Union, August 3 1993.
    • “Women See Perils, But Can’t Vow to Stop”, Albany Times Union, September 19 1993.
    • “Victim Offered Sex for Drugs, Cop Testifies”, Albany Times Union, May 11 1995.
State New York
Type County
Population 159722
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