Staten Island, NY

Tactics Used

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

Staten Island is a borough of approximately 476,000 residents, located southwest of Manhattan in New York City. Prostitution and sex trafficking are well-documented problems on the island. For example, in April, 2021, two local men and one woman were arrested in connection with a sex trafficking operation where at least one young woman was forced into prostitution in the town of Stapleton. The alleged incidents occurred between March and September of 2019, according to the criminal complaint. The woman would be picked up at one of the trafficker’s properties and would be driven to another location to perform sex acts in exchange for money, which was collected by the trafficker.  The victim was forced to participate in prostitution “by intimidation and threats of physical harm to the informant and her family should she make a report to the police or leave his prostitution operation” where there usually were two females prostituting themselves, according to the criminal complaint.  One of the traffickers flashed a fake police badge and threatened to harm the female victim and her family if she did not prostitute herself in the borough, and said he had contacts with law enforcement and elsewhere that would allow him to locate the victim if she tried to escape.  They also made false promises to the victim saving money for her to use later to start a business.  Robberies and homicides of women offering commercial sex acts have been documented, and minors have also been discovered during anti-prostitution investigations in the community.  For example, in April, 2015, a 21-year-old woman was found fatally shot in the head at a Staten Island motel in what authorities described as “a botched prostitution robbery.”

In an attempt to curtail the commercial sex market and financial motivation for sex trafficking, the New York City Police Department has conducted at least three street-level reverse stings within the borough. Police have used several female undercover officers posing as prostituting women working in groups. One such operation, undertaken in September 2008, resulted in the arrest of 19 johns in a single weekend. Police said they had arrested 12 sex buyers in the first half of 2013, while arresting only two women for prostitution.  To deter sex buyers, the NYPD has at times released arrestees’ names and other identifying information to the local media. For additional information on anti-demand initiatives in the surrounding area, please see the Demand Forum web pages for New York and Manhattan.

Key Sources


State New York
Type City
Population 476143
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