Springfield, VA

Tactics Used

Reverse stings
Shaming
Auto seizure
Community service
Public education
Neighborhood action
SOAP orders
John school
Letters
Cameras
Web stings
License suspension

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.”

Key Partners

  • Fairfax County Police Department
  • Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force

Key Sources

State Virginia
Type City
Population 30484
Location
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