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Rockland is a town of approximately 17,500 residents, located on Massachusetts’ South Shore in Plymouth County near Brockton and Bridgewater. In its efforts to reduce local prostitution, the Rockland Police Department has conducted stings targeting sex buyers. In 2008, RPD officers responded to an online ad for sex and arrested two women at a Rockland hotel. Officers then initiated an ad hoc reverse sting, wherein a female officer answered the cell phone they recovered from the women and continued to set up appointments with sex buyers. Eight men were arrested as a result; all of their names were publicized by local media outlets.
In October, 2019, five men from Massachusetts were indicted on human trafficking charges following a sting operation out of a Rockland hotel, according to an announcement from the Plymouth County District Attorney. The men were each indicted by a Plymouth County grand jury on one count of trafficking of a person for sexual servitude for a fee. According to a press release from the DA’s Office, each pleaded not guilty to a single charge of trafficking a person for sexual servitude and was released on personal recognizance. In early August, 2019, police conducted a sting online, posting a commercial sex advertisement posing as a female “escort” and using a Rockland hotel as the backdrop to meet and complete the transactions. From 8 p.m. to midnight on Aug. 5, the five men contacted the undercover officer separately and arranged to meet at the hotel and exchange sex acts for money. The undercover officer gave the men a specific room number in the hotel, and once they arrived at that room at the specified times, they were arrested.
In August 2021, a web-based reverse sting resulted in the arrest of five men, whose names were also released in news reports. Investigators posted a prostitution advertisement online, with a female officer posing as an escort. A Rockland hotel was used as the meeting place. The Massachusetts State Police, Plymouth County Sheriffs Office, Rockland Police Department, and the Boston Police Human Trafficking Task Force set up the sting.
- Rockland Police Department
- Massachusetts State Police
- Plymouth County Sheriffs Office
- Boston Police Human Trafficking Task Force
Web-Based Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:
- “Rockland Prostitution Probe Nets Several Arrests,” Quincy Patriot Ledger, October 26 2008.
- “Rockland Prostitution Sting Nets 13 Arrests,” Brockton Enterprise, October 27 2008.
- “One Alleged Prostitute Is a Former Marshfield High Honor Student,” Brockton Enterprise, October 28 2008.
- https://patch.com/massachusetts/five-men-indicted-rockland-hotel-sex-trafficking-sting (2019)
- https://www.bostonglobe.com/5-men-arrested-rockland-sex-trafficking-sting (2021)
- https://www.wpri.com/johnston-officer-among-suspects-charged-in-human-trafficking-sting (2021)
- https://www.patriotledger.com/5-include-men-abington-pembroke-brockton (2021)
- https://www.wcvb.com/plymouth-county-human-trafficking-sting-massachusetts (2021)
- https://www.providencejournal.com/police-officer-charged-mass-prostitution-sting (2021)
Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “Rockland Woman Charged with Prostitution,” Quincy Patriot Ledger, August 8 2008.
- “Prostitution Thrives Online on South Shore,” Brockton Enterprise, November 3 2008.
- “Undercover Sting in Rockland Ends in Prostitution Charge,” Abington Mariner, February 1 2013.
- https://www.patriotledger.com/article/NEWS (2013)
- https://959watd.com/rockland-alleged-prostitute-arrested-twice-in-less-than-a-year-as-a-result-of-undercover-sting (2013)