Henrico County is a county of approximately 300,000 residents located in central Virginia, and its population center is the city of Richmond. Prostitution is a visible and persistent problem in the areas surrounding Richmond, and cases of human trafficking for sexual exploitation of children, and of adults through the use of force. To deter sex consumers, the Henrico County Police Department routinely conducts street-level reverse sting operations. Dozens of johns have been arrested in these sweeps. Photos with their names and identifying information are then released by the HCPD to local media outlets. At least two web-based versions of reverse stings have been conducted, both using online ads and communication with investigators posing as minors, and resulting in the arrest of men for attempting to buy sex with a trafficked child – on one case, a man who was convicted for attempting to buy sex with a five year old girl. HCPD officers have noted the growing presence of human trafficking networks in the state.
A john school was launched in March 2013. The class is part of a plea agreement defendants may be offered. The plea agreement also includes six hours of jail time, HIV and hepatitis C screening, a ban from all Henrico hotels, 24 hours of community service, and probation. The program is in collaboration among Commonwealth Catholic Charities, the Henrico Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office, Henrico Community Corrections, Gray Haven, and Henrico Public Health. Safe Harbor Shelter and The Gray Haven Project, two local shelters for victims of sexual and domestic abuse, each receive $60 of the $300 fee paid by johns. The rest goes to overhead and direct costs. In addition, men must meet with a counselor for an assessment prior to attendance, and must pay $60 for the assessment.
The john school description and contact information provided by Commonwealth Catholic Charities is as follows:
Our John School teaches the harm caused by prostitution. You will learn about the impact of prostitution on you, on your family, and in your community. You will explore your personal motivations for paying for sex and develop a prevention plan. The class is facilitated with the help of professionals from the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney, Henrico Health Department, and The Gray Haven.
Classes are $300 and meet 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM. If you are court ordered to attend, your progress is reported to your probation officer. Before enrolling, you need to participate in an assessment with a counselor. Assessments are $60 and scheduled by appointment only.
For appointment and questions call 804.545.5907
- John School:
- Reverse Stings (Mode Unclear):
- Street-Level Reverse Stings:
- “Henrico Police Arrest 10 in West End Prostitution Sting,” Henrico Citizen, October 11 2011.
- “Prostitution Sting Nets 10 in Henrico’s West End,” NBC/WECT-TV 6, October 11 2011.
- “Henrico Vice Arrest Multiple Men on Prostitution Related Charges,” CBS/WBTV-TV 3, November 30 2011.
- “Prostitution and Drug Arrests in Henrico Neighborhood,” NBC/WWBT-TV 12, August 31 2012.
- Web-Based Reverse Stings:
- Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:
- “Henrico Drops Prostitution Charge against Woodbridge Woman,” Richmond Times-Dispatch, September 28 2011.
- “3 Ohio Residents Face Prostitution Charges in Henrico,” Richmond Times-Dispatch, January 10 2012.
- “‘Operation Innkeeper’ Rescues Nine Teens from Prostitution in Henrico,” NBC/WWBT-TV 12, September 6 2013.
- “Prostitution Fight in Henrico Covers Multiple Courtrooms, Much of Country; As County Crackdown Continues, Man Gets 8 Years for Role as Pimp,” Richmond Times-Dispatch, April 2 2014.
- “Man Accused of Forcing 15-Year-Old Girl into Prostitution,” ABC/WRIC-TV 8, July 10 2015.
- “N.Y. Man Arraigned in Henrico Child Sex Case,” Richmond Times-Dispatch, July 10 2015.
- “N.C. Man Convicted in Va.’s 1st Case of Commercial Sex Trafficking under New Law,” Richmond Times-Dispatch, February 2 2016.
- Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “2 Henrico Women Face Charges in Prostitution Case,” Richmond Times-Dispatch, April 16 1987.
- “Henrico Revises Law on Massage Therapy,” Richmond Times-Dispatch, November 25 1998.
- “Plea Nets 4 1/2 Years in Henrico Vice Case; Chesterfield Man’s Escort Service on Broad Street Was Cover for Prostitution,” Richmond Times-Dispatch, December 3 2008.
- “Prostitution Cases Part of Nationwide Sweep,” Richmond Times-Dispatch, June 24 2014.
- “Henrico Pimp Convicted in Anti-Prostitution Initiative Targeting Hotels,” Richmond Times-Dispatch, August 4 2015.
- “Most Prostitution Arrests Happen along This West End Street,” CBS/WTVR-TV 6, December 2 2015.
- “Maryland Man Sentenced to 13 Years for Running Prostitution Ring in Henrico,” Richmond Times-Dispatch, March 16 2016.
- Child Endangerment:
- “9-Year-Old Found in West Broad Motel Bathroom during Prostitution Sting,” CBS/WTVR-TV 6, March 1 2016.
- Documented Violence against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:
- “Rape in Henrico Is Termed Similar to One in Sept.; Charlottesville Man Charged in Latest,” Richmond Times-Dispatch, July 6 1995.
- “Man Pleads Guilty to Two Murders in Henrico; He Vows to Plead Guilty to 2 Other Slayings That Day in May 2003,” Richmond Times-Dispatch, February 6 2006.
- “Guilty Plea in Slayings of Four; Killings in Henrico and Richmond Tied to Prostitution Dispute,” Richmond Times-Dispatch, February 18 2006.
- “Henrico Gets Conviction in Fight against Prostitution; New York Man Faces Possible Life Term after Attacking Two Women,” Richmond Times-Dispatch, March 20 2014.