Saratoga County is located near Albany, New York, and contains cities and towns including Mechanicville, Stillwater, Clifton Park, Hudson Falls, and Saratoga Springs. Prostitution and sex trafficking activity have been well-documented in the county and several of its communities, and in unincorporated areas. This activity and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates result in complaints to law enforcement agencies from residents and businesses. Among the more serious crimes associated with the local commercial sex market is child sex trafficking.
Consumer level demand provides the revenue stream for all prostitution and sex trafficking, and has therefore been targeted by local law enforcement agencies as a strategy for prevention and response. In an effort to reduce prostitution and sex trafficking activity in the county, the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office has conducted at least one reverse sting. In July 2014, SCSO deputies conducted an eight-hour web-based sting that resulted in the arrest of 12 sex buyers. During the investigation, officers placed an online advertisement “to lure johns looking to buy sex to a Clifton Park hotel room, [which had been] outfitted with surveillance by New York State Police” and undercover female deputies posing as decoys. In the days that followed, the SCSO released the names of all of the arrestees’ names to the public. When asked about the operation, a representative with the SCSO reported that it was the first of its kind, and was designed to “combat the key elements of the illegal sex trade.”
In May 2018, 16 people arrested in two separate web-based prostitution stings in Clifton Park. Police declined to comment on the length of the investigation or what social media sites were used, but reported that seven men were charged with patronizing a prostitute, and their identities were released. All defendants were issued appearance tickets and are expected to return to Clifton Park Town Court a week after the second sting was conducted. State police were assisted with the sting operations by the Community Narcotics Enforcement Team and Electronics Surveillance Unit, or C-NET.
In July 2018, another web-based reverse sting was conducted in Clifton Park by the State Police. The operation resulted in the arrests of six male sex buyers, and two women on prostitution charges. Troopers said that the sting operation involved officials setting up meetings in the Clifton Park area using social media. The identities and photos of the arrested individuals were released to news outlets.
- Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office
- Saratoga Springs Police Department
- New York State Police’s Community Narcotics Enforcement Team
- Community Narcotics Enforcement Team and Electronics Surveillance Unit
- Clifton Park Town Court
- Web-Based Reverse Stings and Shaming:
- “Dozen Arrested in Saratoga Co. Prostitution Sting”, CBS/WRGB-TV 6, July 28 2014.
- “Man Charged after Knife Incident; Prostitution Sting Operation in Saratoga Nets 21”, Saratoga Wire, July 28 2014.
- “Police: Sting Nets 12 Johns, Eight Prostitutes”, Troy Record, July 28 2014.
- “Prostitution Arrests in Clifton Park, Saratoga Springs”, Albany Times Union, July 28 2014.
- “Sheriff: 12 Arrested during Prostitution Sting in Clifton Park”, ABC/WTEN-TV 10, July 28 2014.
- “Two Local Men Arrested in Prostitution ‘Sting’”, Glens Falls Post Star, July 28 2014.
- https://www.saratogian.com/news/police-prostitution-sting-in-capital-region-nets (2018)
- https://www.hudsonvalley360.com/article/round-top-man-charged-prostitution-sting (2018)
- https://dailygazette.com/article/2018/07/13/clifton-park-prostitution-sting-yields-eight-arrests (2018)
- http://cbs6albany.com/news/local/state-police-8-arrested-in-prostitution-sting (2018)
- https://poststar.com/news/local/two-sentenced-one-more-pleads-guilty-for-child-sex-sting (2019)
- Background on Prostitution and Sex Trafficking in the Area:
- “Clifton Park Is Seeking Rest Stop Crackdown”, Schenectady Gazette, May 15 1986.
- “Two Clifton Park Men Charged in Alleged Prostitution Setup”, Saratogian, April 10 2013.
- https://poststar.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/police-make-prostitution-arrests-in-greenfield (2014)
- https://www.news10.com/news/prostitution-ring-busted-in-saratoga/1108037775 (2015)
- http://www.oleantimesherald.com/news/state/summit-on-human-trafficking-in-saratoga-will-look-at-thel (2018)