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Somerville is a borough and the county seat of Somerset County, New Jersey. It has a population of roughly 12,000, and is located in the Raritan Valley region within the New York Metropolitan Area, about 33 miles from Manhattan. Prostitution activity has been well-documented in the city and surrounding communities. This activity and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates results in complaints to law enforcement agencies from residents and businesses. or example, in January, 2011, police arrested a masseuse at a West Main Street day spa for trying to sell sex, according to the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office. She was charged with engaging in prostitution after she allegedly propositioned an undercover detective. The undercover operation followed a month-long investigation by county and Somerville authorities that began when they received complaints about the business from several Somerville residents.
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. Demand reduction tactics used in the town include arresting sex buyers and disclosing their identities. For example, in February, 2021 law enforcement officials announced the identity of Somerville man who admitted to traveling to the Philippines to pay to sexually abuse a minor. The man pleaded guilty in federal court on charges related to a trip in October 2018 where he paid the minor with money and gifts.
- Somerville Police Department
- Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office
Sex Buyer Arrest, Identity Disclosure:
Background on Local Prostitution and Sex Trafficking: