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Albany is a city of approximately 73,000 residents, located in Dougherty County in southwestern Georgia. According to reports from local law enforcement, the city has struggled with persistent prostitution activity linked to illegal drug sales. There has also been documented sex trafficking activity in the area. To address these issues, the Albany Police Department has partnered with the Dougherty County Police Department, District Attorney’s Office and Sheriff’s Office to create the Albany-Dougherty Drug Unit (ADDU). In September, 2022, an undercover prostitution operation conducted by the ADDU led to multiple arrests. The Undercover Prostitution Operation targeted known areas where illegal activity was occurring; out of the seven suspects encountered, five offered sexual acts in exchange for money and were charged with prostitution.
Since its inception, the ADDU has conducted at least four street-level reverse stings to identify and apprehend sex buyers through 2012. The operations, which utilized undercover female officers as decoys, were often conducted to supplement larger anti-narcotics initiatives. As a warning to other would-be offenders, the ADDU has at times released the names of arrested sex buyers to the local media. More recently, similar operations have been conducted. For example, in March 2017 a reverse sting by the ADDU resulted in five arrests. The first arrest was at a Walgreen’s parking lot on North Slappey, and a second arrest came at the intersection of 4th and Slappey. A similar effort occurred in 2016. Referring to the 2017 operation, the ADDU commander said they would be targeting areas where residents have complained of prostitution, and said the West Highland Avenue and South Davis neighborhood were known to have “rampant” prostitution for the prior few years.
- “Another Albany Police Officer Arrested”, NBC/WALB-TV 10, November 15 2004.
- “Seven Men Arrested for Soliciting Sex in East Albany”, NBC/WALB-TV 10, January 19 2007.
- “APD Arrests Seven on Prostitution Charges”, Albany Herald, February 21 2009.
- “Nine Caught in Reverse Prostitution Sting”, FOX/WFXL-TV 31, June 23 2009.
- “Drug Unit Nets 10 Hookers, Nine Johns”, Albany Herald, June 24 2009.
- http://www.walb.com/story/32995665/addu-arrests-three-in-prostitution-sting (2016)
- http://www.walb.com/story/34959346/five-arrested-after-addu-prostitution-sting (2017)
Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “Prostitution Stings in Both East and West Albany”, NBC/WALB-TV 10, February 1 2007.
- “Nine Arrested by Drug Agents”, NBC/WALB-TV 10, February 23 2007.
- “Prostitution Problems Persist in Albany”, NBC/WALB-TV 10, May 20 2009.
- “Special Report: Sex in the Streets, Part 1”, NBC/WALB-TV 10, November 23 2009.
- “Special Report: Sex in the Streets, Part 2”, NBC/WALB-TV 10, November 23 2009.
- “Albany Leaders Working to Stop Prostitution”, NBC/WALB-TV 10, September 6 2011.
- https://www.albanyherald.com/albany-dougherty-drug-unit-arrests-five-in-prostitution-sting-operation (2017)
- https://www.walb.com/2019/online-trafficking-becoming-new-trend-prostitution-albany/ (2019)
- https://www.walb.com/2020/albany-police-dept-continues-compliance-checks-palace-inn (2020)
- https://www.walb.com/2022/5-arrested-albany-undercover-prostitution-operation/ (2022)
Background on Sex Trafficking in the Area:
- https://www.walb.com/2019/online-trafficking-becoming-new-trend-prostitution-albany (2019)
- https://valdostatoday.com/news-2/2020/eight-arrested-in-albany-for-child-sex-trafficking (2020)
- https://www.walb.com/2020/southwest-georgia-leaders-cracking-down-human-trafficking-cases-rise (2020)
- https://www.walb.com/2021/07/29/8-albany-gang-members-indicted-human-trafficking-gang-charges/ (2021)
- https://ocgnews.com/8-albany-georgia-bloods-gang-members-indicted-54-counts-human-trafficking (2021)