Rock Hill, SC
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Rock Hill is the largest city in York County, South Carolina, with a population of approximately 74,000. It is is located in the north-central portion of South Carolina, and is part of the greater Charlotte, NC metro area. Prostitution and sex trafficking activity have been well-documented in communities and unincorporated areas of the county, including within the city of Rock Hill. This activity and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates result in complaints to law enforcement agencies from residents and businesses. For example, in November, 2010, two young women and three older men were charged with solicitation of prostitution at an apartment in Rock Hill, while York County sheriff’s deputies were working with the FBI on an undercover operation. In April, 2014, five people were arrested at two Rock Hill motels in a prostitution sting operation. The three women and two men were arrested at a motel on Riverview Road and on N. Cherry Road, according to the Rock Hill Police Department. Among the criminal charges were prostitution, as well as possession of cocaine, heroin, and other drugs. Among the more serious crimes associated with the local commercial sex market is sex trafficking.
The Rock Hill Police Department has participated in large scale reverse stings, in collaboration with other agencies. For example, in April 2021, 10 suspected child predators were arrested in a web sting called “Operation Home Alone.” In addition to the Rock Hill Police Department, 13 additional agencies participated in the county-wide operation, including including the York County Sheriff’s Office, Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, South Carolina Attorney Generals’ Office, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Homeland Security Investigations, US Secret Service, York Police Department, Fort Mill Police Department, Mount Pleasant Police Department, Charleston Police Department, Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office, Marion County Sheriff’s Office, and Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office. The men were arrested after attempting to arrange sex with undercover officers whom they believed were minors between the ages of 10-17. The names, ages, hometowns, arrest photos, and occupations of the men were released to the press, along with what they were charged with. Not all of the instances involved the exchange of money for sex, but at least six of the men were charged with sexual exploitation of a minor or promoting the prostitution of a minor.
In April 2022, a man was arrested by the West Alabama Human Trafficking Task Force on charges of traveling to meet a child for an unlawful sex act, electronic solicitation of a child, second-degree rape, and second-degree sodomy. The investigation began when authorities learned in February that he was soliciting minors through social media apps, including Kik, offering to send them money in exchange for nude images and to meet in person for sex. His identity was released to the press. The man was already awaiting trial on a second-degree rape charge in Bibb County when he was arrested in Tuscaloosa County for soliciting and engaging in sexual activity with minors. The Rock Hill Police Department in South Carolina, where he went to school, assisted in the arrest by executing a search warrant on his devices that identified underage victims of sexual assault in the Tuscaloosa area.
- Rock Hill Police Department
- West Alabama Human Trafficking Task Force
Sex Buyer Arrest, Identity Disclosure:
- https://www.al.com/man-awaiting-2nd-degree-rape-trial-arrested-new-charges-soliciting-sex-minors-social-media (2022)
- https://www.wvua23.com/northport-man-facing-charges-of-traveling-to-meet-minors-for-sex (2022)
Web-Based Reverse Sting:
- https://www.abccolumbia.com/york-county-10-suspected-child-predators-arrested-in-operation-home-alone (2021)
Background on Local Prostitution and Sex Trafficking:
- https://www.wistv.com/two-women-three-men-arrested-in-fbi-prostitution-bust/ (2010)
- https://www.wrhi.com/2012/09/police-known-prostitute-exposed-man-to-hiv- (2012)
- https://www.wbtv.com/five-arrested-in-prostitution-sting-at-two-rock-hill-motels-police-say/ (2014)
- https://www.islandpacket.com/news/state/south-carolina/ (2015)
- https://www.wsoctv.com/17-arrested-in-york-county-prostitution-sting (2017)
- https://www.gastongazette.com/rock-hill-woman-charged-with-prostitution-larceny-in-gastonia/ (2018)
- https://www.wcnc.com/6-charged-with-prostitution-in-york-county (2020)
- https://www.cn2.com/deputies-six-arrested-in-prostitution-sting-one-a-victim-of-human-trafficking/ (2020)
Local Prostitution Ordinance:
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