Rockville, MD

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

Rockville is a city of about 67,000 residents located in Montgomery County, Maryland, near Washington, D.C.  Prostitution and sex trafficking have been well documented problems in the city, and throughout the county, for many years.  For example, in January, 2012, the operators of four Rockville massage parlors were arrested and faced human-trafficking and prostitution-related charges. Montgomery County police said that investigators began probing the businesses in September, 2011, and found that they were were “havens” for human trafficking. Prostitution brothels were operating under the guise of being massage or acupressure parlors.  Three defendants were charged with human trafficking, and all four men are charged with conducting prostitution. Police said the investigation into the businesses began after authorities saw a large increase in the number of massage parlors being advertised in the adult-services sections of online advertisement sites. The police department was also receiving a number of complaints about illegal activities at the businesses.

In, November, 2015,  a local preacher was charged with numerous criminal counts, including attempted first degree murder, armed robbery, first degree assault and reckless endangerment. The man would allegedly “hunt escorts” by trolling, using the website to broker prostitution deals with women.  Attacks one and two happened at a hotel along W. Montgomery Avenue in Rockville, where the man allegedly raped and robbed two “call girls” he had met online. Attack number three took place at a hotel along Research Court in Rockville, near Shady Grove Adventist Hospital, where investigators say the man met a prostituting woman, and after consensual sex the man emerged from the bathroom holding a kitchen knife, ordered the woman to strip naked and then reportedly said, “You are going to die today.” He then went on to beat the woman’s face, cut her arms, legs and hands and stole her iPad, pre-paid T-Mobile cell phone and $300. The woman survived the attack and called 911. In January, 2020, a woman pleaded guilty to operating a house of prostitution in Rockville. She had been arrested after a five-month investigation that found found 18 men admitted to paying for sex acts at a spa that she ran.  In February, 2022, a 32-year-old Rockville, Maryland man was arrested on sex trafficking and prostitution charges.  Authorities said they began investigating the suspect in December, 2021, after an alleged victim told detectives she had been trafficked by him in October. The man was apprehended while trying to pick up a trafficking victim to take her to a hotel “to meet with individuals for the purpose of sexual exploitation,” police said.

Among the ways in which local law enforcement agencies have attempted to combat the wide range of problems associated with the local sex trade have been efforts to combat consumer level demand.  For example, in October, 2019, Montgomery County Police filed charges against 20 men who allegedly admitted to receiving sexual massage services in exchange for money. The men included a real estate agent, mortgage broker, pharmacist, commander in the U.S. Navy, employee with the Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation, plus a part-time contractor with the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office. In March, 2019, Montgomery County Police’s Vice & Intelligence Unit launched a five-month human trafficking investigation at a Spa located at 15192 Frederick Road in Rockville, near Montgomery College’s flagship campus. On multiple days, officers conducted undercover surveillance outside of the massage parlor. Police stopped 75 male customers during the course of their investigation. Twenty-one of those stopped admitted to receiving some sort of illicit sex act for money. All 20 men faced one count of “prostitution-general,” which carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail and/or $500 in fines. No mugshots were available as police issued the men district court summonses instead of arrest warrants. Many of the men retained private defense attorneys. Investigators believe the spa recruited its masseuses — all Chinese immigrants — from Flushing, New York. The Queens neighborhood is known for being a hub for the human trafficking of Asian women. The identities of all 20 sex buyers were listed in news reports.

Key Partners

Key Sources

Sex Buyer Arrest, Identity Disclosure:

Background on Local Prostitution and Sex Trafficking:

Documented Violence Against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:

State Maryland
Type City
Population 67139
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