Anderson is a city of roughly 27,000 residents located in western South Carolina, about 20 miles southwest of Greenville. The city has had a substantial prostitution problem, as indicated by the level of complaints police receive from residents and businesses, the presence of neighborhood groups focused on addressing prostitution, and the presence of nonprofit organizations devoted to working with survivors of commercial sex in Anderson.
Reverse stings have occurred in the city since at least 2005, and probably before. In a 2009 operation, one man was arrested for soliciting, while another team using a decoy sex buyer arrested a woman who was HIV positive and selling sex.
In 2020, Anderson County deputies arrested 21 people in an operation that lasted several months. The operation, codenamed “Operation Square Dance,” involved undercover detectives posing as both people in prostitution and sex buyers. Everyone arrested in the operation was charged with solicitation of prostitution. The operation also involved shaming, as names and arrest photos were released to the public.
Reverse Stings with Shaming:
Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “Interstate Prostitution Investigation”, Rock Hill Herald, January 2 1979.
- “Prostitution Continues to Blight Parts of Anderson County”, Anderson Independent-Mail, August 23 2008.
- “The Price of Prostitution: Women Share Stories of Lives on the Streets”, Anderson Independent-Mail, August 24 2008.
- “Fighting Prostitution Takes Community Effort, Expert Says”, Anderson Independent-Mail, August 25 2008.
- “Prostitution Arrest Numbers Up”, Anderson Independent-Mail, October 12 2008.
- “On the Streets: Trying to Leave ‘the Life’ is Hard”, Anderson Independent-Mail, October 19 2008.
Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area: