Banks County, GA
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Banks County is located in northeastern Georgia and has a population of approximately 18,000. The county seat is the city of Homer. Prostitution activity has been well-documented within the county, and 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 associated with the local commercial sex market is sex trafficking. In November, 2016, the Banks County Sheriff’s Office arrested eight people as part of a prostitution and human trafficking investigation conducted at a cooperating hotel in the Banks Crossing area near Interstate 85. Those arrested faced charges including pimping, giving false name and date of birth, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and possession of methamphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana.
Consumer level demand provides the revenue stream for all prostitution and sex trafficking, and has therefore been targeted by local law enforcement agencies as a strategy for prevention and response. Demand reduction tactics used in the county include reverse stings and the disclosure of sex buyer identities. For example, in January, 2013, Banks County Sheriff’s Office officials arrested 11 people in connection with a pandering investigation in the Banks Crossing area. In October, 2013, the Banks County Sheriff’s Office arrested more five men on pandering charges following a criminal investigation initiated after complaints were made by local citizens about Internet postings of escort services listed for the Banks Crossing area. The identities of the arrested sex buyers were reported in news releases.
In January, 2020, Banks County officials continued their crackdown on crimes in the Banks Crossing area and resulted in two pandering arrests from an undercover sting targeting human trafficking, prostitution and sex crimes at a local business in the Banks Crossing area. According to Georgia law, a person commits the offense of pandering when he or she solicits a person to perform an act of prostitution in his or her own behalf or in behalf of a third person, or when he or she knowingly assembles persons at a fixed place for the purpose of being solicited by others to perform an act of prostitution. Both men were charged with pandering and each was released on a $1,000 bond. Their identities were publicly disclosed.
- Banks County Sheriff’s Office
Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:
- http://southeastgeorgiatoday.com/banks-county-sheriffs-arrest-five-more-pandering-charges (2013)
- https://accesswdun.com/banks-county-deputies-pandering-arrests-human-trafficking-crackdown (2020)
- https://www.fox5atlanta.com/deputies-2-men-arrested-in-undercover-georgia-prostitution-operation (2020)
Background on Prostitution in the Region:
- “Hall Drug Unit Targets Vice Crimes; MANS Squad Makes Arrests in Pandering, Indecency Cases”, Gainesville Times, July 31 2010.
- https://accesswdun.com/prostitution-operation-nets-8-arrests-in-banks-county (2016)
- https://wnegradio.com/stephens-co-woman-arrested-in-banks-co-investigation/ (2016)
- https://www.onlineathens.com/eight-suspects-2-athens-arrested-undercover-sting-banks-crossing (2016)
- https://accesswdun.com/11-arrested-as-part-of-hall-county-prostitution-sting (2017)
- http://www.banksnewstoday.com/archives/4-cited-in-undercover-sting-operation (2018)
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