Rockland County, NY

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

Rockland County is located roughly 20 miles north of New York City, and is the southernmost county on the west side of the Hudson River. Its population is over 325,000, and the county contains several small cities and towns including Clarkstown, Spring Valley, and Ramapo. Prostitution and sex trafficking rings are known to operate in the county and generate a wide range of problems. In February, 2014, it was announced that a widespread prostitution sting brought in connection with the Super Bowl netted at least 28 arrests in Westchester and Rockland counties. The arrests included seven who were accused with promoting prostitution, and at least 21 women who were accused of prostitution itself. Half of the arrests occurred in Rockland County, while the other half were taken into custody in Westchester County. The Super Bowl operation, carried out over six months, involved police departments in Greenburgh, Yonkers, White Plains, Rye Brook, New Rochelle and Clarkstown.

In their efforts to reduce prostitution in the area, local law enforcement agencies have collaborated to conduct reverse stings to reduce consumer-level demand that provides all of the revenue for sex trafficking and exploitation. For example, the Rockland County Sheriff’s Office has collaborated with the Spring Valley Police Department to conduct at least two street-level reverse stings in the downtown area. One operation, undertaken in October 2008, resulted in the arrest of 15 sex buyers in less than 3 hours. To discourage the men from reoffending, police seized arrestees’ vehicles and released their names to the local media. When asked why the SVPD periodically conducts such operations, Spring Valley Police Chief Paul Modica told The Journal News that “many of the prostitute[d persons] and [sex buyers] are [the village’s] robbery victims. If we can keep them out of the village, we are serving two purposes.”

In August 2015, the Rockland County District Attorney’s Office announced the arrests of five sex buyers during a web sting in Clarkstown. The operation was a joint effort by the RCDAO and Clarkstown Police Department. Each of the men arrested reportedly responded to an online advertisement suggesting prostitution and made an offer of money for sex to a female undercover officer. Following their arrests, all of the men’s names and arrest photos were publicized in press. In April 2016, the Clarkstown Police Department and the Rockland County District Attorney’s Office joined together to conduct a law enforcement operation focused on local hotels and motels where there was an increase in organized and independent prostitution activities. Six arrests were made of sex buyers in an ongoing effort to combat the growing problem of sex trafficking. In a four hour period over 140 individuals contacted the”sting” unit in response to an undercover advertisement that was posted on the internet. The collaboration of law enforcement efforts between the department and the district attorney have targeted issues in the county, such as prostitution, human trafficking, and related narcotics trafficking.

In January 2017, a Clarkstown reverse sting resulted in five arrests. Police targeted potential buyers, pimps, and traffickers at local hotels and motels. The sting also involved using undercover officers and posting fake ads on popular websites. Four of the five men who were arrested in the sting were from Rockland County, while the other suspect was from Mahwah, New Jersey.

In June 2018, six people were arrested during an investigation into prostitution in the town of Ramapo, on Sherwood Avenue in the Spring Valley section. One man was arrested and charged with patronizing a prostitute. Ramapo Police were assisted by the Village of Spring Valley Police, the Rockland County Intelligence Center, and the Department of Homeland Security.

Key Partners

  • Rockland County Sheriff’s Office
    • Intelligence Unit
  • Rockland County District Attorney’s Office
  • Ramapo Police Department
  • Spring Valley Police Department
  • Rockland County Intelligence Center
  • Department of Homeland Security

Key Sources

Reverse Sting, Identity Disclosure:

Web-Based Reverse Stings with Identity Disclosure:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:

State New York
Type County
Population 325789
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