Anderson County is located in the northeastern region of Tennessee, and has a population of approximately 77,000. The government seat is the city of Clinton, and other substantial cities and towns in the county include Oak Ridge and Oliver Springs. Anderson County is included in the Knoxville, TN Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Oliver Springs drew media attention in August 2013, when officers from the town’s police department and the Seventh District Crime Task Force conducted a street-level reverse sting. During the operation, six sex buyers were arrested; all were charged with patronizing prostitution. According to news reports, all were apprehended within half a mile of the town’s elementary and middle school. One of the men arrested was a registered sex offender. All arrestees’ names were released to the public. When asked about the department’s impetus for conducting the reverse sting, Oliver Springs Police Chief Kenneth Morgan reported that the undercover operation was started, in part, because of citizen complaints, and that “[the OSPD] hoped [to] stop a growing issue before it became a major problem.”
In April, 2021, a two-day undercover operation in Anderson County resulted in the arrest of men accused of seeking illicit sex from minors. Authorities placed several decoy advertisements on websites known to be linked to prostitution and commercial sex cases. The focus of the operation was to identify individuals seeking to engage in commercial sex acts with minors. As a result of the operation, authorities arrested nine men and booked them into the Anderson County Jail on charges including trafficking for a commercial sex act. Another part of the operation focused on identifying potential victims of trafficking. Two adult women were identified and offered services such as housing and counseling through Grow Free Tennessee, a program of the Community Coalition Against Human Trafficking. The operation was conducted by special agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) Human Trafficking Unit, the Oak Ridge Police Department, the 7th Judicial District Crime Task Force, the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office, and the 7th Judicial District Attorney General’s Office
- Anderson County Sheriff’s Office
- Anderson County District Attorney General
- Oliver Springs Police Department
- Seventh District Crime Task Force
- Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) Human Trafficking Unit
- Oak Ridge Police Department
- 7th Judicial District Crime Task Force
- 7th Judicial District Attorney General’s Office
Reverse Stings and Shaming:
- “Seven Arrested in Prostitution Sting in Oliver Springs”, Oak Ridge Today, September 5 2013.
- “7 Arrested in Oliver Springs Prostitution Case”, Knoxville News Sentinel, September 6 2013.
- “7 Arrested in Prostitution Sting in Oliver Springs”, Oak Ridger, September 9 2013.
- “7 People Arrested in Oliver Springs Undercover Prostitution Bust”, ABC/WATE-TV 6, September 12 2013.
- https://www.advocateanddemocrat.com/news/article (2021)
Web-based Reverse Stings, Shaming:
- https://www.thedailytimes.com/news/maryville-man-others-arrested-after-human-trafficking-sting/article_23f2f29e-6d50-5b7a-93ac-a00cd9d19f0e.html (2021)
Background on Local Prostitution and Sex Trafficking: