Alabaster, AL

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

Alabaster is a southern suburb of Birmingham, AL, in Shelby County, AL. Its population is roughly 33,000. Prostitution activity has been well-documented in Alabaster, and in surrounding communities and unincorporated areas of Shelby and neighboring counties. For example, in a 2015 report, local police said the crime is happening everywhere, in every community and every city in the region, and noted that websites contain ads for escorts from all over the area.  In September, 2016, two men were arrested for operating an illegal escort service involving at least one juvenile victim in and around the Alabaster area. One of the men was charged with first-degree human trafficking, second-degree human trafficking, and drug offenses, and could face up to life in prison. A Shelby County grand jury returned a seven-count indictment that alleged that the man “required multiple females to prostitute themselves in Alabama” over the prior several years. The investigation was a collaboration of the Pelham Police Department, Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Marshals Service, and the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office.

To combat prostitution and sex trafficking in the area, local law enforcement agencies have targeted consumer-level demand for commercial sex, which provides the revenue stream driving all commercial sex and trafficking. To identify and apprehend sex buyers driving the local prostitution and sex trafficking markets, street-level reverse stings have been conducted. For example, in September 2018, eleven men were arrested in the Shelby County area for attempting to pay for sex. The arrests occurred in north Shelby County along the U.S. 280 corridor as part of “Operation Close Out,” an undercover “reverse prostitution” sting carried out by the Shelby County Drug Enforcement Task Force. The identities of the arrested men were included in news releases. In October 2018, the Shelby County Drug Enforcement Task Force carried out a second round of Operation Close Out in northern Shelby County along the U.S. 280 corridor, resulting in nine men arrested and charged with soliciting prostitution.  The suspects were from Mountain Brook, Birmingham, Vestavia Hills, Kentucky and Tennessee.

In May of 2019 the Shelby County Drug Enforcement Task Force announced the arrest of 13 male sex buyers in an undercover reverse prostitution sting. In these types of operations, law enforcement focuses on apprehending sex buyers, aiming to reduce the demand for commercial sex. One of the men was an Alabaster resident. The operation, titled “Operation Close Out, Round 4,″ conducted by the task force and the Hoover Police Department, was one of four similar stings that also took place in September 2018, October 2018, and February 2019. The four operations led to a total of 46 arrests. After the May 2019 reverse sting, the identities, photos, ages, and charges for all arrestees were publicly posted.

Key Sources

Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

Background on Local Prostitution and Sex Trafficking:

State Alabama
Type City
Population 33176
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