Baton Rouge, LA

Tactics Used

Buyer Arrests
Reverse stings
Shaming
Auto seizure
Community service
Public education
Neighborhood action
SOAP orders
John school
Letters
Cameras
Web stings
License suspension

Baton Rouge is the capital of Louisiana. It is also the state’s second largest city, with a population of nearly 230,000. Prostitution and sex trafficking are well-documented problems in the city and throughout the region.  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 offenderwas 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.

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 business 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 Sources

State Louisiana
Type City
Population 227071
Location
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