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Waterbury is a city in Western Connecticut located in New Haven County, CT and has a population of approximately 107,000 residents. Prostitution and sex trafficking are well-known problems in the city, and activity appears to occur primarily indoors in hotels or apartments, and is arranged online. Commercial sex activity generates numerous complaints to police by residents and businesses. Among the more serious issues associated with the local commercial sex market has been the activity of a serial killer suspected as the cause of three slain prostituted women discovered in the late 1990s in one stretch of woods by the Naugatuck River and instances of child sex trafficking. For example, in August of 2013, local law enforcement agencies participated in a three-day national operation combatting child sex trafficking. As a result, juvenile victims were found in Milford, Groton, and Waterbury. Police report that complaints from local residents and businesses are numerous and persistent, and such complaints play a role in police conducting prostitution operations.
The Waterbury Police Department’s efforts to combat commercial sex have included the use of tactics focused on demand such as street-level reverse stings, some of which have produced over 30 arrests. For example, in 2007, the Waterbury PD conducted a street-level reverse sting operation that resulted in the arrest of 33 male sex buyers. The identities of arrested offenders were included in reports by local media outlets. The operation was one of the largest operations conducted in the city and was initiated in response to residential complaints about the growing prostitution problem in the neighborhood. Police can also seize the vehicles and release the identities of arrested sex buyers.
Employment loss is also a consequence of buying sex in the city. For example, in 2014, a former court marshal was arrested by state police on allegations of promoting prostitution. According to police, the arrest was related to an ongoing criminal investigation conducted by the Western District Major Crimes Squad. He was released on a $25,000 bond and was placed on administrative leave without pay pending the outcome of the investigation. He as officially fired later that year. In 2016, the former judicial marshal was sentenced to serve 12 years in prison (with the term suspended after one year), on several sex-related charges that included promoting prostitution, sexual assault, and trafficking in persons. According to reports, “A seven-month probe into the former judicial marshal found that he posed as a police official to coerce three prostituted women into sex under the threat of arrest.” The investigation was initiated as a result of victim reports to police.
Sex Buyer Arrests:
- “Spa Patrons Also Nabbed; Court Crammed after 33 Massage Parlor Arrests,” Waterbury Republican-American, April 29 2006.
Street-Level Reverse Stings with Shaming:
- “Cops Nab Prostitutes’ Customers,” New London Day, May 25 1998.
- “Prostitution Sting in Hillside Area Snares 12 Women, 4 Men,” Waterbury Republican-American, June 2 2006.
- “Chief Says Prostitution Stings Will Continue through Summer,” Waterbury Republican-American, June 3 2006.
- “Police Use Stings in Campaign against Prostitutes,” Waterbury Republican-American, June 3 2006.
- “Prostitution Stings Will Run through the Summer; 24 Arrested in Twin Ops on Thursday,” Waterbury Republican-American, June 3 2006.
- “40 Charged as Johns, Prostitutes in Sting; Cops Focus on Hillside Neighborhood,” Waterbury Republican-American, June 3 2007.
- “Sting: 33 Johns, 7 Prostitutes; Police Crack down on Activity in Hillside Area,” Waterbury Republican-American, June 3 2007.
- “Waterbury Police Arrest 40 in Prostitution Crackdown,” Waterbury Republican-American, June 3 2007.
- “Prostitution Sting Nets 40,” CBS/WFSB-TV 3, June 4 2007.
- “Hookers’ Patrons Arrests; Waterbury Police Send Message on Prostitution,” Waterbury Republican-American, May 26 2008.
- “Sting Nets Alleged Customers of Hookers,” Waterbury Republican-American, May 26 2008.
- “Hillside Residents Applaud Waterbury Prostitution Sting,” Waterbury Republican-American, May 29 2008.
“Lessons Not Learned; Thirty-Nine More Johns Busted in 2nd Waterbury Sting in as Many Months,” Waterbury Republican-American, June 30 2008.
- “Prostitution Sting Arrests,” Waterbury Republican-American, June 14 2009.
- “Prostitution Sweep Results in Arrest of 27 in Waterbury,” Waterbury Republican-American, May 28 2011.
Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:
- “Woman Pleads Guilty to Arranging Sexual Encounters for Mayor; Woman Admitted Bringing Her Daughter and Niece to Offices, Home of Former Waterbury Mayor,” Norwalk Hour, September 19 2002.
- “Woman Pleads Guilty to State Charges of Arranging for Ex-Mayor of Waterbury to Have Sex with Children,” New London Day, September 19 2002.
- “Raids May Net Traffickers, Data on Women Raises Concern They Were Victims,” Waterbury Republican-American, April 30 2006.
- “Owner of City Massage Parlor Arrested on Federal Charges, Accused of Human Trafficking,” Waterbury Republican-American, August 17 2006.
- https://www.courant.com/breaking-news/hc-watertown-promoting-prostitution-arrest-0520-20150519-story.html (2015)
Documented Violence against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:
- “Other Deaths Probed for Link to Mass. Killings,” Nashua Telegraph, January 26 1989.
- “Task Force to Probe Killings of 12 Women,” Norwalk Hour, December 3 1991.
- “Body Found Off Road in Harwinton; Woman’s Body Found in Harwinton,” Hartford Courant, January 7 1993.
- “Woman Is 3rd Prostitute Found Slain in Area,” Hartford Courant, January 8 1993.
- “Man Accused in Prostitute’s Murder Not Suspect in 19 Unsolved Homicides,” New London Day, September 15 1994.
- “Passenger’s Death under Investigation,” Hartford Courant, December 11 1994.
- “Authorities Probe Body’s Link to Decade of Serial Killings,” New London Day, August 22 1995.
- “Police Capture Murder Suspect,” NBC/WVIT-TV 30, October 19 2011.
- “Accused Killer’s Text to Mom: I Killed a Girl,” NBC/WVIT-TV 30, October 20 2011.
- “Woman Steals Man’s Wallet and His Car,” Waterbury Republican-American, August 16 2014.
Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “Vice Raid Nets Three,” Bridgeport Sunday Herald, May 31 1959.
- “Police Say Prostitution Curbed by Fear of AIDS,” New London Day, September 25 1986.
- https://archives.rep-am.com/2019waterbury-police-arrest-11-during-prostitution-sting/ (1995)
- “Woman, 66, Admits Running Brothel from Waterbury Locale,” Waterbury Republican-American, July 23 2005.
- “Waterbury Police Conduct Daylight Prostitution Sting; Ten Women Were Arrested during the Sting Early Wednesday,” NBC/WVIT-TV 30, July 18 2013.
- https://www.rep-am.com/police-investigating-alleged-prostitution-at-massage-spa-in-watertown/ (2021)
Sex Buyer Fired and/or Resigned Due to Arrest:
- https://www.fox61.com/article/news/local/outreach/awareness-months/waterbury-court-marshal-charged-with-promoting-prostitution/520-bd74cde7-9a1c-4521-b312-ff8e2a2c9614 (2014)
- https://www.thehour.com/news/article/Waterbury-court-marshal-arrested-on-prostitution-8089111.php (2014)
- “Former Judicial Marshal Charged with Human Trafficking,” NBC/WVIT-TV 30, May 7 2015.
- https://www.wamc.org/new-england-news/2016-05-19/ct-judicial-marshal-pleads-guilty-to-coercing-prostitutes (2016)
- https://www.theday.com/article/20160810/NWS12/160819972 (2016)