Springfield is a census-designated place of approximately 30,500 residents, located in Fairfax County, Virginia in the suburbs of Washington, D.C.. In August 2013, Fairfax County Police Department officers conducted a large-scale reverse sting that used the web to apprehend sex buyers. According to The Washington Post, “23 men were arrested after communicating over the Internet with undercover officers they believed were prostitutes” and arranging to meet the officers at hotels in Springfield, Tysons Corner, Falls Church, and Herndon. The FCPD did not release the names of the arrestees, nor did they disclose the number of johns arrested at each location. Complaints to police from business owners and residents played a roll in the decision to attack the demand side of the local commercial sex and traffickng market.
Springfield previously drew national attention in spring 2012, when local law enforcement and FBI officials uncovered a gang-controllled teen sex trafficking ring operating in Fairfax County. The operation’s “ringleader”, as well as two of the other four men arrested and charged with compelling the prostitution of a minor, were from Springfield. During the investigation, officers identified at least 8 underaged female victims. In a September 2012 press release, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia stated that the traffickers “provide[d] the victims with drugs and alcohol, and [drove] them to area neighborhoods… including Commerce Street in Springfield… [where they] were instructed to walk through apartment buildings and townhouse complexes, going door-to-door to solicit customers while accompanied by a male bodyguard from the gang… victims were [also] instructed to find apartments with multiple males inside to minimize walking in the open and to maximize profit. [The traffickers] also advertised their victims through online sites such as Craigslist.org and Backpage.com and solicited customers for ‘in-call’ prostitution services.”
- Fairfax County Police Department
- Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force
- Brothel Raids with John Arrests:
- Web-Based Reverse Stings:
- Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:
- “Police Say Girls, 7 and 8, Tendered as Prostitutes; Fairfax Holds Couple as Ring Suspected”, Washington Times, November 15 1994.
- “Suspect Told Police about Prostitution in September; Woman Accused of Offering Daughter”, Washington Times, November 16 1994.
- “City Officer Says He Tried to Spread Word on Sex Ring”, Washington Times, November 18 1994.
- “D.C. Police Are Cleared by Own Review; Child Prostitution Allegations Handled Properly, Report Says”, Washington Post, November 29 1994.
- “2 Child-Prostitution Defendants Guilty; Va. Man, D.C. Woman Face 25 Years”, Washington Times, January 28 1995.
- “2 Get 11 Years for Child Prostitution”, Washington Times, April 15 1995.
- “5 Arrested, Accused of Forcing High School Girls to Be Prostitutes”, CNN, March 29 2012.
- “Leader of Crips Gang Pleads Guilty in Virginia to Prostituting Eight Juveniles”,Press Release, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, June 26 2012.
- “Springfield Crips Member Sentenced to 10 Years on Sex Trafficking Charges”, Fairfax News, August 18 2012.
- “Gang Leader Sentenced to 40 Years for Leading Juvenile Sex Trafficking Ring”, Press Release, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, September 14 2012.
- Background on Prostitution in the Area: