Baton Rouge, LA

Tactics Used

Auto Seizure
Buyer Arrests
Cameras
Community Service
Employment Loss
Identity Disclosure
IT Based Tactics
John School
Letters
License Suspension
Neighborhood Action
Public Education
Reverse Stings
SOAP Orders
Web Stings

Baton Rouge is the capital of Louisiana. It is also the state’s second largest city, with a population of nearly 222,000. Prostitution and sex trafficking are well-documented in the city and throughout the region, and generate many other crimes including homicide, robbery, child sexual abuse materials (CSAM), and drug and weapons offenses. For example, a man booked in 2019 on charges tied to prostitution was accused in 2021 of forcing at least two juvenile girls to have sex with strangers at a Baton Rouge hotel. The Louisiana Department of Public Safety said the alleged offender was arrested on human trafficking charges when law enforcement uncovered the sex-trafficking operation after they found two girls, ages 13 and 14, at the a motel on Airline Highway in August, 2021.  The teens told investigators that a man had them set up “plays” by phone with other men. Arrest documents noted that “plays” is a commonly used slang term for prostitution. According to the girls, the man old them they had to “earn” the right to stay in his hotel room by having sex with random men. One of the girls told officers “it felt like I was being forced to do it” and “they would dump me out on the streets if I didn’t make money,” according to arrest documents.  The 14-year-old girl had recently run away from her foster home with another 15-year-old girl, who was also being “taken to different motels around Baton Rouge.” The man had also been arrested in 2019 on similar charges when he was accused of forcing women into prostitution at another hotel in East Baton Rouge.

Problems associated with prostitution and sex trafficking in the city include the targeted murder of sexually exploited persons.  Between 1996 and 2004, at least 11 women exploited in prostitution were found murdered in a tightly confined area surrounding North Street Park in Baton Rouge. More recently, a sexually exploited female was strangled to death with shoelaces; the accused murderer had previously been convicted of killing a woman in another city using similar tactics. Additional problems reported include sex buyers temporarily abandoning young children in order to buy sex. For example, in a December 2013 case, police booked an arrested sex buyer for an additional charge of child desertion for leaving a 1-year-old and 2-year-old alone in a car while meeting with the undercover officer to buy sex in a hotel room. Armed robbery of sex buyers has also been  documented in the city.  For example, in July, 2022, a 15-year-old boy was hospital after being shot by a 16-year-old girl in a prostitution-related robbery. An investigation by the West Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office found that two teenagers were working together to lure and rob a male sex buyer. The 15-year-old boy used the 16-year-old girl as “bait” to get the target to a motel along LA 415 in Baton Rouge by posting an advertisement for prostitution. When the man arrived a struggle broke out, and the girl accidentally shot the boy.  Both teenagers were charged with armed robbery. The pair had three weapons with them at the time of the incident. The man who was targeted in the robbery was charged with soliciting prostitution.

The combat prostitution, the Baton Rouge Police Department has been conducting reverse sting operations occasionally since 1985.  In 2007, officers incorporated the use of web stings as a response to much of the city’s sex trade being taken “inside” and off the streets. A web-based reversal in December 2013, for example, netted nine male sex buyers, all of whose identities were publicized. Since at least 1985, city law enforcement have also reserved the right to seize vehicles used for the purposes of solicitation.

After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, there had been a reported spike in human trafficking in the Baton Rouge area.  In the months following the hurricane, Baton Rouge Police reported a significant increase in international labor trafficking and adult and child sex trafficking. The city has since been listed among the top ten most highly trafficked U.S. cities by the Department of Justice. In an effort to combat the problem, police and other city officials have been working towards stricter prostitution laws to disrupt and dismantle local trafficking operations, identify and recover victims of trafficking, and deter city residents from engaging in the sale or purchase of commercial sex as a whole.

Key Partners

Key Sources

Street-Level Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

Web-Based Stings, Identity Disclosure:

Local Sex Trafficking, Prostitution, Related CSAM:

Child Endangerment:

  • “9 Arrests in Prostitution Sting; 1 Leaves Small Children in Car”, FOX/WGMB-TV 44, December 13 2013.
  • “Baton Rouge Police Arrest 9 Men in Prostitution Sting”, Red Stick Now, December 13 2013.

Documented Violence against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:

State Louisiana
Type City
Population 222191
Location
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