Westbrook, ME

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

Westbrook is a suburb of Portland, Maine.  It lies within Cumberland County, and has a population of about 20,500. For decades, police have been aware of prostitution occurring in the city and residents have complained to police about it.  Local cases of sex trafficking of adults and children have been uncovered by investigators.  In their efforts to reduce prostitution activity and the crimes it generates – including human trafficking – local law enforcement agencies have used demand reduction tactics, including operations designed to identify and arrest sex buyers. In February 2014, the Greater Portland Coalition Against Sex Trafficking and Exploitation (a task force operating in the greater Portland, Maine area that is comprised of federal, state, and local agencies) arrested people in connection with a prostitution operation. Police in Portland and Westbrook charged three men with “engaging a prostitute.” One of the three was reportedly arrested in Westbrook. The names and other identifiers of the arrested sex buyers were released to the media.

The Westbrook Police Department has also participated in reverse stings in nearby cities.  For example, in May, 2022, six men were arrested in Portland, Maine, as a result of a joint enforcement operation involving several police departments, state agencies, and the FBI that targeted people who patronize human trafficking victims.Under Maine law, engaging a prostitute means paying or agreeing to pay for a sexual act or sexual contact, with the payment going either to the prostituted person or to someone else. The law doesn’t require that the prostituted be a victim of human trafficking or sex trafficking. Five men were charged with “engaging a prostitute” during the enforcement operation, while another man was charged with “patronizing prostitution of a minor” (i.e., soliciting a sex trafficking victim). The joint enforcement operation involved officers from the Portland, South Portland, Westbrook, Gorham, Brunswick, Falmouth, and Yarmouth police departments, and included agents from the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency, the FBI Safe Street Task Force, and prosecutors from the Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office.

Key Partners

  • Greater Portland Coalition Against Sex Trafficking and Exploitation
    • Portland Police Department
    • South Portland Police Department
    • Westbrook Police Department
    • Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office
    • Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office
    • Scarborough Police Department
    • Maine Drug Enforcement Agency
    • Maine Pretrial Services
    • FBI
    • Department of Homeland Security

Key Sources

Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

Background on Prostitution and Sex Trafficking in the Area:

State Maine
Type City
Population 20572
Comments are closed.