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Ascension Parish is a located in southern Louisiana, and has a population of about 125,000. The parish seat is Donaldsonville, a small city of about 7,000 residents located along the west bank of the Mississippi River. Prostitution and sex trafficking activity have been well-documented in the communities and unincorporated areas of the parish. This activity and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates results in complaints to law enforcement agencies from residents and businesses. Among the more serious crimes involved in the larger commercial sex market is child sex trafficking. For example, in December 2013, the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office reported the arrest of two Donaldsonville women and one man following an investigation into allegations of prostitution. The arrests were made after a three month long investigation that found a 33-year-old woman was prostituting a 14-year-old girl out of her home in Donaldsonville in return for drugs and money, and that the child was also transported and forced to perform prostitution in New Orleans and other areas in south Louisiana. The woman and conspirators were booked on charges of prostitution of persons under the age of 18, soliciting for prostitutes, and trafficking of children for sexual purposes, criminal conspiracy to commit prostitution of persons under the age of 18, and criminal conspiracy to commit soliciting for prostitutes.
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. For example, in July 2016, thirteen people were arrested in a web-based prostitution sting in Ascension Parish, conducted by a collaboration of Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Narcotics Detectives, Gonzales Police Department, and the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office worked together in the operation. Three of the arrested people were male sex buyers, who were charged with “prostitution solicitation” and their names, ages, and addresses were publicly disclosed.
- Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office
- Gonzales Police Department
- East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Offic
Web-Based Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:
Background on Prostitution and Sex Trafficking:
- https://www.theadvocate.com/new_orleans/news/communities/ (2014)
- https://www.actionnews17.com/suspect-arrested-for-human-trafficking-bogalusa-woman-issued-summons-for-prostitution (2017)
- http://www.kptv.com/story/woman-sentenced-to-16-years-for-sex-offense-against-minor-failing-to-register (2018)
- https://pelicanpostonline.com/apso-arrest-report-for-the-week-of-october-13-19/ (2022)