Westborough, MA

Tactics Used

Auto Seizure
Buyer Arrests
Community Service
Employment Loss
Identity Disclosure
IT Based Tactics
John School
License Suspension
Neighborhood Action
Public Education
Reverse Stings
SOAP Orders
Web Stings

Westborough is a town of approximately 18,000 residents in Worcester County, Massachusetts. It is located about 40 miles west of Boston and 40 miles east of Springfield in central Massachusetts. Some other cities in Worcester County that have worked to address demand include Auburn, Fitchburg, Holden, Leominster, Milford, Northborough, Southborough, and Worcester.

Prostitution and sex trafficking activity have been well-documented in the communities within the county, especially in the city of Worcester. There have been chronic and visible “strolling” areas in some of the county’s communities for several decades, and multiple documented cases of child sex trafficking. The area has also dealt with a serial killer targeting prostituted people in the early 2000s, and there have been cases of targeted rape, physical assault, and robbery of individuals engaged in prostitution. This activity and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates result in complaints to law enforcement agencies from residents and businesses. Among the more serious crimes associated with the local commercial sex market is child sex trafficking.

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. For example, in January, 2017, state and local police arrested 10 area men in a reverse sting, according to an announcement by the Worcester County District Attorney’s Office. The sweep, conducted by the State Police High Risk Victim Unit and the Northborough, Southborough, Westborough and Shrewsbury police departments, was part of an effort to combat human trafficking and sexual exploitation of women, with a focus on attacking the demand side of human trafficking and prostitution. The men were arraigned in Westborough District Court on a charge of sexual conduct for a fee. The identities of the arrested men were included in news reports.

In February, 2023, four men were arrested during a commercial sexual exploitation and human trafficking sting. The men each were charged with sexual conduct for a fee, and their identities included in news reports. Southborough Police say they conducted the operation with other law enforcement agencies to crack down on demand for prostitution and commercial sexual exploitation. Southborough police teamed with the  Northborough  and  Westborough police departments, as well as the Massachusetts State Police and the  Worcester County Sheriff’s Office, to conduct the sting. Planning had started the prior year. Police had set up a fake ad on a website advertising a woman offering “sexual services” at an unnamed hotel in Southborough. The hotel, as well as others in Northborough and Westborough, had been used for prostitution in the past. The suspects all responded to the prostitution advertisement and were arrested upon arrival to the hotel, and were then arraigned in Westborough District Court the next morning. About the operation, the Chief of the Southborough Police Department said:

“Those who claim that these types of law enforcement operations are a waste of taxpayer money are not seeing the victims behind the crime. Most often the women involved in prostitution rings are victims of human trafficking, suffer from a serious drug addiction or have suffered from many types of mental or physical abuse. Those who seek out and patronize this commercial sex industry should be held accountable for their actions and contributions to this cycle of abuse.”

Key Partners

  • Westborough Police Department
  • Southborough Police Department
  • Northborough Police Department
  • Worcester County Sheriff’s Office
  • Worcester County District Attorney’s Office
  • Massachusetts State Police

Key Sources

Web-Based Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

Background on Local Prostitution, Sex Trafficking:

State Massachusetts
Type City
Population 18272
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